Al-Wafd newspaper published exclusively the final version of the unified law for the construction of places of worship.
The author says this law was drawn up by the National Council for Human Rights [NCHR, www.nchr.org.eg/en/home.asp] before being submitted to the Parliament, which will have to pass it during its next session to end the dispute over the construction and restoration of places of worship, especially regarding churches.
According to the author, the approval to the construction, consolidation, restoration and enlargement of places of worship is entrusted to an administrative body represented by the Ministry of Local Development.
The law sets at LE 10,000 the fee to obtain a license to build places of worship, LE 1,000 to raise, enlarge or consolidate them, and LE 200 to restore them.
The author mentions the main clauses of the law concerning the issuance of licenses. If the administrative body does not reply to the request within 60 days, the license shall be approved. Administrative judges shall settle disputes, while the competent administrative body shall write down the date when the application is submitted on the copy of the request – which is handed to the applicant – and in a specific register created with the body itself.
According to article two of the law, licenses may be released to build annexes to the licensed places of worship, such as treatment units. This shall be in accordance with the terms and conditions mentioned in the executive regulations.
The law warns against any unauthorized construction or any change in an already existing building to turn it or part of it into a place of worship.
The law also sets forth that the competent jurisdictions of the administrative court have the right to consider the appeals against the decisions of this administrative body to reject the application within thirty days from the day when the rejection is announced.
The prime minister shall enact the executive regulations of the law within three months from the day they enter into force. The regulations and the decisions existing on the date when the law enters into force will remain in force until its executive regulations come into effect.
The law obliges the license applicant to inform the administrative body about his or her decision to implement the work for which a license is requested.
As for disputes, the law says, they are part of the competence of the administrative court in whose jurisdiction the activities for which a license is required are carried out.
As for the enactment clauses of the law, article one sets forth that the provisions of this law shall come into force and be applied unless this issue [building, raising, enlarging, consolidating or restoring places of worship] is dealt with in the law regulating construction works [Law No. 106 of 1976], so that the latter does not contradict the provisions of the new law.
Additionally, each provision contrary to the provisions of this new law is revoked.
The law shall be published in the Official Gazette and shall take action beginning from the day following the date of its publication.