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Chaldean Families in Iraq Targeted for Their Beliefs
By Guest Reporter :: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 :: 87369 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Georgina, CAN - A Georgina man is in a desperate race against time to rescue his sister and her family from Baghdad, Iraq.

Described as the most dangerous city on Earth, Baghdad is torn apart by sectarian violence amid a wider civil war.

It is a city where how you worship God can literally get you killed.

Sam Taan, who operates the Daisy Mart in Sutton, said the urgency to get his sister, Ban, her husband Raad (their last names are withheld over safety concerns) and their two young sons, grew last month when Raad's brother Fatah was murdered by one of the many Islamic militias that prowl the city.

“He was working in a house doing some plumbing. You do whatever job you can get,” Mr. Taan said. “He finished and had just left to go home when five guys came up to him.”

The five armed men were members of the notorious militia controlled by fanatical Shi’a cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.

“Who are you?” they asked him.

He told them.

“What sect are you?”

This is a question often asked to determine if the person accosted is a Shi’a or Sunni, the two Islamic sides locked in bloody conflict and ethnic cleansing.

Fatah, 40, said he wasn’t with any of the two. “I’m a Christian,” he said.

He was told he had to convert. He refused.

“That was it,” Mr. Taan said. “They shot him immediately in the head. That’s the way it is over there now. Today, you are alive. Tomorrow, you could be dead.”

Things are growing steadily worse for his sister’s family, he said.

Raad can’t find work, so they have to rely on what she makes in her job as an accountant for the government.

Their two children only go to school occasionally because of the danger.

Children have not been spared in the hate-filled ethnic conflict, victims of murder squads or fanatical suicide bombers.

They have been harassed and threatened for being Christian, in their case with the Chaldean Catholic church.

The Chaldeans have been in the region since about 600 BC, long before the emergence of modern Iraq.

There is growing evidence Christians and other minority religions are targeted for ethnic cleansing by al-Queda in Iraq.

Life under Saddam Hussein was harsh, he said, but it wasn’t the bloody anarchy it is today, as the ill-fated United States invasion and occupation stretches into its fourth year.

He will co-sponsor his family to come to Canada, but he needs a community sponsor — an organization, association or corporation, for example a service club, Mr. Taan said.

Under Canada’s refugee sponsorship program, the community sponsor must have the financial ability to support the family if necessary, usually for a year.

Mr. Taan has contacted MP Peter Van Loan’s office.

“They’ve been very helpful in providing the information,” he said. “Now hopefully, someone will step forward.”

Mr. Taan came to Canada about 10 years ago, sponsoring his wife, parents and younger brother to come here three years later.

All are now proud Canadians, he said.

Mr. Taan and his wife, Rita, and their children, Lourdes, 3 and Lawrence, 1, live in Keswick.

“We’re very anxious to get them out,” he said. “But there are so many obstacles. I hope someone can help us. My sister is my parents’ only daughter. They are the last of our immediate family left in Iraq.”

Since the outbreak of war, Christians have fled in record numbers.

A little more than half of the original 750,000 are left, most of them in the safer Kurdish region in the north.

In places such as Baghdad, though, they have been threatened, assaulted and murdered and many of their churches destroyed.

Mr. Taan hopes his sister’s family can come to Canada and settle in Georgina, where he and his own family have found a safe haven and a welcoming community.

Anyone who can help, can call Mr. Taan at 905-722-6341 or e-mail sarmaddamman@yahoo.com

Report provided by John Slykhuis

Mother of God Church, MI USA


Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church
25585 Berg Road
Southfield, MI 48033
Tel: (248) 356-0565
Fax: (248) 356-5235

Founding Pastor:
Msgr. Geroge Garmo in 1972
The current church building
was completed in 1980.

Rev.  Manuel Yousif Boji

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Wisam Matti

Daily:  10:00 AM Chaldean
Tuesdays:  5:30 PM Chaldean/English 
Saturdays:  Ramsha 4:45-5:20 PM; Mass 5:30 PM Chaldean   
Sundays:  8:30 AM Arabic, 10:00 AM English, 12:00 PM Chaldean

 1st Friday, Sodality Prayers 11 AM – 12 PM
1st Saturday, Immaculate Heart Sodality Prayers 4:00 PM

Mother of God Guardian Angels

Communion & Catechism School
Chaldean Language School
Hall Rental
Wedding Services
Baptism Services
Funeral Services

Monday: Family Bible Study 8:00 P.M. Upper Hall
Friday: Young Adult English Bible Study 7:30 P.M. Lower Hall
Wednesday: Young Adult Arabic Bible Study 7:30 P.M. Lower Hall
Prayer Groups
Our Lady Social
Ur of the Chaldees
Knights of Columbus
Mass Servers
Youth Choir
Adult Choir
Family Fun Friday
Friday Friends
Communications Ministry
Chaldean Teens Coming Together
Performance Ministry
Gift Store
Library and Research
Social Ministry & Support
Chaldean Language Classes
Fishers of Men

 Rev. Manuel Yousif Boji

Fr. Manuel was born in Telkaif in the suburbs of Nineveh, Iraq in 1946.   Reverend Manuel Boji entered the Chaldean Seminary in Mousl in 1958 and was ordained a priest in Baghdad in 1968.  His first assignment was in Telkaif where he served for 19 years.  In July 1987, Fr. Manuel was assigned  to the United States  where he assisted Mar Addai Parish in Oak Park, Michigan for six months.  From March 1988 until April 1990, he was administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  Fr. Manuel completed his Masters and Doctorate work from both U of D Mercy and Wayne State University while assigned to the United States.  In May 1990, Fr. Manuel was assigned to Mother of God Parish and is currently serving there as Rector of the Cathedral. 

Parochial Vicar: Rev. Wisam Matti

Fr. Wisam was born in Basrah, Iraq on October 30, 1971. Completing his education in Iraq and serving in the military Fr. Wisam then entered the Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad in 1984.  He was ordained a priest in Karemlees a suburb of Nineveh on July 4th 1997.  His first assignment was in Mosul where he served for five years.  On January 21, 2002, Fr. Wisam was transferred to the Unites States and was assigned to Mother of God Parish where he is currently serving as parochial vicar.  Fr. Wisam, earned his Master in Pastoral Theology on April 28, 2007 from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.