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Egypt makes it easier for churches to obtain licenses

Egypt is allowing unlicensed Christian churches to operate while they go through the permitting process, which the country also is trying to streamline.
Father Farah (L) leads a New Year's Eve mass at Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Cairo, Egypt December 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany - RC1B717DF600
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Many of Egypt’s Christians welcomed a recent decision by the Ministry of Housing allowing unlicensed churches to remain open while they go through the process of obtaining official permits. The decision aims to streamline that process, ease Christians' access to places of worship and guarantee their constitutional rights, the ministry said in a statement.

Officials also hope the move could cut down on sectarian violence. Some extremist groups have attacked churches under the pretext that they are unlicensed and therefore illegal.

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