A committee set up by the Egyptian government has approved the legalization of 127 churches which were previously being run in an illegal capacity.
A law passed in 2016 hoped to speed up the process of legalization, with thousands of churches being built without a permit and operating in fear of government reprisals.
Prior to the law being passed, it was notoriously difficult to approve state approval and, therefore, congregations could find themselves at risk of prosecution.
Since the law passed, some 1,021 have been granted permits by the committee, according to International Christian Concern.
While the committee still has many churches to legalize, this is a promising start for a country in which Coptic Christians have faced fierce levels of violence and persecution for decades.
According to Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, the country’s Christians still face daily persecution from groups within the Islamic-majority population, as well as mistreatment from the government itself.
The Islamic culture “fuels discrimination and creates an environment causing the state to be reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians,” Open Doors explains on its Egypt fact page.
The country is currently sitting at number 16 on the World Watch List — a ranking of the harshest environments on earth in which to live as a follower of Jesus.