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Middle East Times – A Roman Catholic bishop taking part in the Vatican synod criticized Muslim countries on Saturday for not allowing Christians to practice their faith.

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia cited the example of Ethiopian and Eritrean guest workers in Arab countries who he claimed were unable to practice their Christian faith.

He named Saudi Arabia , Yemen and the Gulf States in a speech to more than 240 bishops gathered at the Vatican to discuss the problems facing the Catholic Church worldwide.

“Before going to these Muslim countries, they are forced to change their Christian name to a Muslim one, and in particular, the women have to dress in Muslim clothing.

“Once they have reached their destination, they have their passports taken away and are subjected to every kind of abuse and oppression. In this situation many are forced to become Muslims,” according to a text of the prelate’s speech released to Italian journalists.

“They are forced to go to these Muslim countries because of poverty in their own countries and because other Christian countries are barred to them. ”The right to profess their own religion is denied them,” he said, including being able to go to mass and communion. “It’s modern day religious persecution.”