Egypt (MNN) — Egypt will now allow Muslims to build Christian churches as paid laborers. Egyptian Muslims in the past have often seen this kind of work as taboo.
The pronouncement allows Muslims to help build any of the 44 churches now under construction around Egypt. They can also join the work on 16 historic Coptic churches now being restored. Read more and see a map of the churches being built here.
Tom Doyle of Uncharted Ministries says, “This is a big step. This is the government saying, ‘We are giving our okay for this.’ And that’s another good sign. So we are thankful for that. And we pray that there will be better relations between Muslims and Christians. Because we know as Muslims become exposed to the Gospel and see the joy of the Lord and believers, it’s attractive to them. They want to know more.”
A good sign for the future
Doyle says this might be good news for the future of Christian-Muslim relations throughout the entire MENA region. “Saudi Arabia is the heart of Arab Islam. But Egypt is the brains of Arab Islam. Their Al-Azhar University is the place where clerics go to get trained to be the most respected theologians in the religion of Islam all throughout the Arab Middle East.”
Doyle says this openness isn’t just religious, but political. “Egypt is wanting to open up. The nations of the world realize that they need each other. To just push Sharia law and close countries from outside contact, from other groups, from other religions, it’s just not feasible anymore.”
Pray Christians would take advantage of this openness in Egypt and in academic Islam for greater collaboration and Gospel witness. Doyle says, “We’re going to see greater progress for the Gospel in Egypt because of some of these things opening up.”
The header image shows a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo courtesy of Ashashyou, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)