Award-winning humanitarian who was kidnapped by terrorists visits Malta to speak at ACN report launch
Fr Khalil Jaar, who in 2002 received the prestigious Robert PW Pierce Award for Christian Services and Reconciliation, is arriving in Malta on 22 Oct for a programme of events to promote the launch of the Persecuted and Forgotten? Report, which is due to be released in Malta this weekend by Aid to the Church in Need, a leading Catholic charity.
Persecuted and Forgotten? offers an accurate and balanced view of religious persecution in 22 countries worldwide. In making its assessment, the analysis of the current situation draws on in-country reports, witness testimonies, interviews with bishops, Sisters and lay people. This research material is compared with evidence from NGOs with expertise in the field to ensure accuracy.
Fr Jaar is the key speaker at the launch of the Persecuted and Forgotten? Report, which will take place at Sala Madonna tal-Karmnu, Valley Road, Birkirkara at 10am next Saturday 24 October. During his stay in Malta he will also have a private meeting with the President, visit Dar tal-Providenza and several parishes in Malta and Gozo including Mellieha, Xagħra, St Sebastian – Qormi and St Gregory- Sliema.
At the launch event, Fr Jaar will speak about his experience in the Middle East where he has been doing humanitarian work for over 25 years. He has been running a programm` e for several years which offers medical care in hospitals abroad for seriously ill Iraqi children. Through his organisation Messengers of Peace, Fr Jaar is also currently providing medical assistance, food and education in refugee camps in Jordan, where families from Syria, Iraq and other Middle East regions have sought refuge from Islamic State.
The responsibility of caring for so many displaced families who fled from violence in the Middle East is very worrying for Fr Jaar. He asks “What we can do to assist these brothers? We don’t have the funds to help such a large number of people who came with nothing! Our local Christian Community in Marka is very poor. But as we trust the Lord, prayer is the best way to help us through this tragic situation. Now we are wondering how the Lord will inspire others abroad to assist us”.
In 1990 Fr Jaar was in charge of Mercy Camp close to the Iraqi border where over 40,000 people took shelter after the first Gulf crisis. After the war of 2003 he started once again going to Baghdad to assist all the people in need – Muslims as well as Christian communities. In November 2005 Fr Jaar was kidnapped by terrorists. Fortunately, he says “By a miracle I was released after six days”.