Egyptian Cabinet approves churches

CAIRO, Egypt — The Egyptian government approved legislation April 18 that will legalize 166 unlicensed churches and services buildings.

The action came from a committee formed in January 2017 whose purpose was to study and verify applications submitted by Christian congregations, according to Egypt Today magazine.

Andre Zaki, head of the Evangelical Community in Egypt, earlier said 450 applications have been submitted. The Middle East News Agency estimates there are more than 3,500 churches awaiting approval. Christians comprise about 10 percent of the Egyptian population. Egypt Today reports that 2011 statistics show some 2,869 churches and more than 108,000 mosques in the country.

Egypt ranked 17th on Open Doors World Watch List, a ranking of the most difficult countries to live as a Christian. Egypt ranked 21st on the 2017 list. (TAB)