World Youth Day begins at Sydney: Australia denies visas to Iraqi pilgrims
.- The Australian government has denied visas to dozens of World Youth Day pilgrims from Iraq, citing concerns that participants will not return home and instead will seek asylum in Australia. One Chaldean Catholic priest called the decision “a slap at young people who wanted to go to witness to the faith and the joy of the church’s living in Iraq despite sufferings.”
Initially the Australian government denied visas for nearly 170 pilgrims, allowing only ten visas to aspiring World Youth Day participants, the SIR News Agency says. According to the website Baghdadhope, there are now only about 30 total visas available that will be granted “in extremis.”
Father Rayan P. Atto, parish priest of Mar Qardagh Church in Erbil, told SIR News Agency that the concerns about asylum seekers were unfounded, arguing that, “for young Christian Iraqis, taking part in the WYD in Sydney was not a way to leave their country.”
“Most of the group members come from northern Iraq, a quiet area,” he continued. “They have no reason to escape and they would certainly not do it on an occasion related to faith.”
If they would have been Jihado-terrorists, I’m sure they would have had no problem with the visas.
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