The Pope’s visit to Lesbos sends message to Arab states to do more for refugees
“The solidarity visit of Pope Francis on Lesbos has sent a strong message to the Arab states that have so far received only a few refugees to do more for refugees from Syria and Iraq” said Father Khalil Jaar, a Jordanian priest who has been caring for years for Christian refugees from the Middle East. He was on Lesbos with the Pope’s delegation at the invitation of the Greek government.
” Pope Francis’ visit sent out a strong message without words to those Arab. The Pope has shown by example that a solution to the refugee crisis is possible if all worked together says Father Khalil: “Why should only Europe bear the burden of refugees? If we all help together, it is easier for all and the people in need are best served quickly, “Jaar said.
“I talked to Syrian refugees, after meeting the Pope. They were all Muslims. They told me that his example has changed their thinking about Christians.. Most were amazed by so much love and humility. You would not expect it, they told me, “said Jaar.
He rejected the criticism of the gesture of the Pope, who had taken twelve Muslim refugees with him on the return flight from Lesbos to Rome. “He wanted to take Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately, their papers were not ready, “said Jaar. In an emergency, help does not depend on faith. “Whether Muslim or Christian, they are all loved by God – people who need our help.”
Father Khalil was grateful for the encouragement of Pope Francis. “I was able to talk briefly with the Holy Father. He told me here that I should continue my work for the people in need. The pope’s example has inspired and encouraged me. I thank ACN for enabling me to help poor people on the run. “
ACN supports the work of Father Khalil in Marka, Jordan, providing accommodation and meals for 600 Iraqi and Syrian mainly Christian families who fled from ISIS. The Agency supports numerous projects with church partners in Syria which make it possible for local people to remain in their homes and helps displaced people in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. These include providing medicines food and rented housing on a large scale.