The Egyptian parliament on Tuesday signed a law regulating the construction of churches, despite opposition by some members of the Christian community which complains of discrimination.
The Copts also complain about hostility of some conservative Muslims, who often oppose the presence of Christian places of worship in their village, especially in the rural areas of the South and centre of the country.
According to official statistics, Egypt has some 2,869 churches for a Coptic community, which represent nearly 10% of 90 million people.
In rural and poor areas, the private churches are often forced to pray in their homes and are sometimes attacked by Muslim neighbors.
The new law states that the provincial Governor must reply within four months to any request for construction of churches by the Christian community.
In case of refusal, the Governor must give reasons for its decision, and the community can appeal this decision at the administrative justice.