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In Egypt, proposed law draft would classify Adventists as non-Christian
Adventist leaders to address matter with government officials on Sunday
Seventh-day Adventist Church officials in Egypt are expressing concern over a proposed draft of the nation’s Personal Status Law that would classify the Adventist Church as a non-Christian denomination.
Local Adventist Church officials said the new classification would have a negative impact on the Church’s work and image among other Christians in Egypt.
Johnny N. Salib, Assistant Secretary of denomination’s Egypt-Sudan Field, said the current draft of article 112 of the proposed new civil law for non-Muslim minorities would put the Adventist Church in different category of religious denominations.
Salib said the current draft of the law was submitted to the Egyptian government more than three decades ago but was not adopted. Over the years, Adventists have made several attempts to meet with leaders of other Christian groups in Egypt to explain the denomination’s Protestant identity. Still, no steps have been taken to remove Adventists from the list of non-Christian churches.
Now, as Egypt is heading toward building a more democratic Constitution, the law proposed by the Christian minority is under serious discussion.
“I am saddened by the fact that some churches consider us as a non-Christian denomination, while the government recognizes us as Christians and gives us our full freedom to worship,” Salib said.
On Sunday, a delegation from the denomination’s Egypt-Sudan Field will meet with the Ministry of Transmitting Justice to discuss the matter. Church officials have already sent a letter to news agencies pointing out that the Adventist Church has existed in Egypt for more than 100 years and was officially registered in the early 1950s, Salib said.
Salib said Adventist leaders will attempt to defend the identity of the denomination without creating any animosity with other Christian denominations in Egypt. With news agencies reporting the matter, he said leaders will focus on how to best use the situation with attention focused on the Church.
“This could be a chance for many Egyptians to know the truth about the Adventist Church and to learn more about our spiritual as well as social contributions in Egypt for many years,” Salib said. “I trust that the prayers of dedicated Adventists in Egypt and around the world can turn the situation into a blessed testimony for our Church.”