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Egypt: Administrative Court Prohibits Christians from Visiting Churches in Jerusalem

(Mar. 24, 2010) On February 2, 2010, the Administrative Judicial Court of Egypt, the country's adjudicative body for administrative disputes related to government contracts, tenders, and administrative questions, issued a decision supporting a ministerial resolution issued by the Minister of Interior (equivalent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) to prevent Christians living in Egypt from visiting the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem, Israel. The Court stated that the Ministry of Interior is the main agency responsible for Egypt's national security. Therefore, its decision to prevent Christians living in Egypt from visiting those churches is legitimate under the discretionary power granted to the Minister of Interior by Law 89-1960, subsequently amended by Law 88-2005, on the entry and residence of foreigners. The Court added that Egypt has signed an international agreement related to the prohibition of travel by individuals to the Christian holy places in Israel. Accordingly, Egyptians cannot legally travel to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. (The Judiciary Prohibits Christians from Visiting the Holy Places [in Arabic], AL SHOROUK, Feb. 3, 2010, available at