MP: Copts getting their citizenship rights

Head of the Religious Affairs Committee in the People’s Assembly Sayed Askar said there is no problem with Copts building new churches in relation to their numbers.

Copts get all their citizenship rights, as many Copts have investments and large fortunes and they are never bothered, said Askar during a meeting with Peter Shia, first secretary of religious affairs at the United States Embassy in Cairo.

Church construction has caused controversy in Egypt since the January 2011 uprising, sometimes resulting in clashes.

In June 2011, the cabinet of former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf proposed a law giving governors the power to grant or deny permits to build, modify or renovate places of worship. But the proposed law was rejected by both the church and Al-Azhar, which prompted the government to reconsider the law.

Askar said in a briefing that he agreed to Shia’s offer to assist in providing care for street children, provided that the assistance does not have political or missionary goals. The condition was welcomed by the US embassy representative, saying that American taxpayers do fund institutions in that field.

Askar slammed the visit by Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa to Jerusalem Wednesday, saying it constituted normalization with Israel, adding that Israel will use this visit in propaganda and the media. He said that he will submit a motion to Parliament regarding the visit.

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