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“Egyptian Muslims: It is a Sin to Build a Church”
September 2nd, 2009

The Egyptian Muslim Council has shocked Christians with a new religious edict (Fatwa) stating, “A Muslim who leaves a will for building a Church is committing a sin against God, just as if he left his inheritance for building a nightclub, a gambling casino, or building a barn for rearing pigs, cats or dogs."

The Muslim community’s debate over the Fatwa reflects a growing intolerance of Christianity, according to sources quoted by the Assyrian International News Agency. “Many Christians believe that this Fatwa has exposed the true stance of the religious authorities and the government towards churches,” it reported.

The Fatwa was issued after an Egyptian human rights official asked the Muslim Council about a previous Cairo University article that Muslims are “forbidden to donate money that would lead to sin, such as building a church, a gambling casino or raising the unclean animals of pigs, cats and dogs.

Human Rights Organization president Dr. Naquib Habraeel asked the Council, “Aren’t these houses [of worship] where the name of God is mentioned? Is not Christianity a recognized religion according to the Egyptian constitution?”

The Fatwa against building a church explained that Christianity deviates from Monotheism because Jesus “is a slave of Allah…and Allah is one.”

In response to a shocked Coptic professor, Reverend Abdelmassih Bassit, Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi initially declared that the Fatwa was wrong and untrue and that Muslims can make voluntary contributions to build churches.

However, under pressure from the Grand Mufti, he backtracked within 24 hours after a chorus of protests from other Muslim leaders. He explained that permission to donate money for churches applies only to non-Muslims.

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