Panama City, Panama, Jan 28, 2019 / 11:04 am America/Denver (CNA).
For many pilgrims at the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama City, attending the international event was as simple as signing up and finding money to fund the trip.
But other youth - including several pilgrims from the Middle East - told CNA that they faced significant challenges getting visas in their home countries to come to the event.
Nabil, a pilgrim from Pakistan, said he and his Christian peers face many challenges at home, and the process of getting to Panama was made extremely difficult by the Pakistani government. His group was detained by immigration authorities in Pakistan on Jan. 19, he said, because Pakistani passports list the holder’s religion.
“As soon as they figured out that we are of the Christian faith, they tried to detain us,” Nabil told EWTN Vatican.
“As soon as they saw we were Christian, they tried to stop us from going to Panama to attend a religious event. So we made a video [of the immigration authorities], and we told them that if they don’t let us go then we will put the video on YouTube; and they got afraid, and they let us come to Panama. So that is just one example of how we are being discriminated against because of our Christian religion.”