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Some good news from the Middle East. Growing numbers of churches are being rebuilt and licenced in Egypt.

Egypt is a key country for Christians in the region. It’s home to the area’s largest Christian population of around 10 million people.

At one time, such was the hostility towards the churches that even essential repairs had to be authorised by the office of president, under laws designed to curtail Christianity dating all the way back to the Ottoman Empire.

Things began to change with the coming to power of President Al-Sisi. A committee was formed to work through applications to legalise unlicensed church buildings. They had more than 3,700 applications in the pile, and progress has been painfully slow.

But this May, Egypt licensed an additional 216 Christian church buildings. And that brings the total number of churches approved to more than 2,800.

‘Significant improvement’

According to reports, Egyptian Christians say the situation in their country is now better than at any time since living memory.

A partner of Release International confirms: ‘There has been a significant improvement not only in church-building laws, but in the number of churches actually built. This has allowed for a much healthier “living together” among Christians and Muslims.’

Even so, Egyptian Christians can be subject to violent attack. Four Islamist terrorists were recently sentenced to death for attacks onto buses carrying Christian pilgrims, in which 35 people were killed.

Please pray that the remaining 1,000 churches still seeking registration will be quickly approved and that Christian witness will grow in Egypt.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs, Canada

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