In a statement released by the Egyptian Church, 48 churches around the country are closed for security issues and Egypt's Christians are left to pray out in the open.
Due to the absence of a finalised draft law that regulates building holy places in Egypt, Egyptian Christians have suffered for decades to get the government's approval to build churches in small towns and villages; the churches are often protested by fellow Muslim residents if built haphazardly without permission, causing tensions and clashes every now and then.
In a recent report, Al Watan local newspaper investigated the shutting down of more than 48 churches and monasteries around the country, mostly concentrated in Upper Egypt, citing security matters or administrative procedures. Many of these places of worship have been closed down since the 80s and the 90s, forcing worshippers to pray out in the open, in tents, or even in coffee shops.
Egypt's Coptic Christians constitute an average of 10 per cent of the Egyptian population, majorly concentrated in Upper Egypt.