WYD IN SYDNEY: FREEDOM OF WORSHIP, THE VOICES OF YOUTH IN THE ARAB COUNTRIES

(From our correspondents in Australia) – The young are also arriving from the Arab countries, but, in spite of all the difficulties large and small they will participate in the next WYD in Sydney. Such as the ten youngsters from Bahrain, who arrived in Melbourne this morning, led by Father Tommaso. "This – says the priest – is a fantastic opportunity, especially for those of us who live in a country with a Muslim majority, in which freedom of worship reigns, but not the freedom openly to bear witness to our faith". Bahrain, however, "is fairly moderate"; the Catholic community amounts to some 30,000 faithful and it’s possible also to profess outside churches, albeit with prior government permission". Another voice coming from a hotspot of the world is that of Maribetch, a Philippino girl who has lived for years in Dubai. "I recognize – she says – that it’s difficult to profess my religion in the country in which I have chosen to live, but I don’t feel that I am discriminated against". Godie, who comes from Kuwait, explains: I can profess my faith in church, but not outside it". Commenting on WYD, Godie points out that "these meetings, apart from being useful for my spiritual growth, are important because they give me the chance to meet other young Christians".

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