11. Building churches ... the problem of drafting a unified law for building houses of worship

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Hanān Muhammad reports on different opinions concerning the unified law for building houses of worship.

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The declaration of Dr. Mudīf Shihāb, minister for legal affairs, concerning the law for building houses of worship has aroused disputes among intellectuals. Over 36 human rights organizations have asked President Mubārak to interfere personally to pass a final decision to issue the law. The Ministry of Housing considers houses of worship as service buildings; the unified law treats all buildings the same; whether they are built for worship, housing, hospitals or schools. [For more information on this subject see AWR 2009, week 39, art 10]
Dr. Milād Hannā, housing expert, accuses the ministry of negligence for considering houses of worship as empty buildings. He asked the ministry to send representatives to go and see for themselves whether these churches actually need new buildings or not.
Jamāl al-Bannā, Islamic thinker, commented on the government’s bureaucracy saying that they have been studying the law for the last four years claiming that they are carefully examining the law before discussing it at the People’s Assembly. He added that the government is aware that Christians have been complaining about the issue for a long time and they have been asking that their churches be dealt with in the same way as mosques are.
MP Georgette Qillīnī said she first presented the law to the People’s Assembly four years ago. She added that the law has been drafted by a group of legal experts and professors and was revised by the National Council for Human Rights. She added that the law will benefit all society; not only Christians.

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