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Entries for September 2006

More Attacks Against Chaldean Churches in Iraq
By Ziad Bitti :: 22 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society

Mosul, Iraq –  Attackers launch rockets against the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit. No one is injured. The group that targeted the church is likely the same that fired shots at the building last Sunday.

Once again the Catholic Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit is the target. This morning a group of men fired rockets against the building, whilst an explosive devise was detonated outside a usually unused entrance door, this according to local sources who also told AsiaNews that no one was killed or hurt in the incident. They also suggested that the attackers might be the same people who on Sunday fired some 80 shots against the church breaking some windows and causing minor damage.

For months, tensions have been rising in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold. Some people have suggested that the anti-Christian attacks are linked to the controversy caused by the Pope’s speech in Regensburg (Germany). In fact, some flyers making anti-Christian threats were distributed around town last Friday, calling on Christians to condemn the Pope’s remarks or be killed and see their churches burnt down.

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Radical Muslims Prove the Pope’s comments by Attacking Chaldean Churches
By Rita Abro :: 17 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society
Baghadad, Iraq -- A Chaldean and Assyrian churche is attacked in Mosul and Baghdad by Muslim militias.  The fanatics have forced Christians to pin up posters condemning the words of Benedict XVI in Regensburg. But religious leaders, including al Sistani, have expressed their friendship with the Apostolic Nunciature. And the representative of the Iraqi Shiite leader would like to meet the pope.
 
The start of the month of Ramadan in Iraq was marked by violence but also by significant openness by al Sistani towards the Vatican. Yesterday, two churches, one in Baghdad and another in Mosul, were struck. Recently, the country has seen an escalation of attacks against Christians, thought by some to be the reaction of radical Muslims to the speech of the pope in Regensburg. However, religious leaders, among them al Sistani, have shown solidarity and understanding towards the Vatican. Moreover, the representative of the highest religious exponent of Iraqi Shiites has expressed the desire to be able to visit the Pope.
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Professor, Lawyer, and Author Gabriel Sawma Sets the Record Straight
By Gabriel Sawma :: 14 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials

Renown professor, lawyer, and author Gabriel Sawma who specializes in international law, mainly the European Union Law, the Middle East and Islamic Shari’a Laws offers insight in the current affairs of Muslims outraged over the Popes Comments.

Professor of Aramaic and a recognized authority on Islam.  Sawma is the author of a book titled, “The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread. The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an”, available on amazon.com.  He has also authored many articles on the Aramaic influence in Biblical Hebrew and in the Quran.  Sawma speaks, reads, and writes Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew.

In a meeting with representatives of science in Germany on September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a short segment of a dialog between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian.

As a result, segments of Muslim community around the world demonstrated and demanded an apology from the pontiff. They argue that Islam did not use the sword to convert people. They also stated that Islam is a “peaceful religion”.  Some demanded that the pope be executed.

This article gives background about the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and parts of Europe.

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Chaldean Leaders Call For Calm and Reason
By Rita Abro :: 15 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA  -- "Poor uneducated Muslims are led blindly into ongoing violence and outrage is coached by irresponsible leaders," says Bashar Sitto.  “Moderate and modern Muslims seem to have lost control to the radical fundamentalists who have hijacked Islam.” 

For the oppressed minority Christians in the Muslim dominated governments, like the Chaldeans of Iraq, fear runs high as they remain vulnerable to potential acts of violence of fanatical Muslims stirred to act with hatred.

Supported by irresponsible media bent on sensationalizing the news and highlighting a Muslim-Christian divide even where one does not exist, only contribute to the grave state of sectarian relations in Iraq today.

The world remains stunned at the easy manipulation and hypersensitivity of Muslims, who refuse to accept the Pope’s academic discussion and focus on a quote taken out of context.  Iraqi religious scholar Abdel Hussam Hussain feels the Islamic governments are at risk as more fanatical elements gain control of interpreting Islam.  Hussain feels the threat of an eventual overthrow of current Islamic are in grave danger.

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Chaldean Clergy and Lay Leaders Attend the Synod of Catholic Caucasus
By Rita Abro :: 13 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture

Tbilisi, Gerogia – The Assyro-Chaldean community will be attending the Synod of Catholic Caucasus in Tbilisi, Georgia.  The Synod will gather all the priests, representatives of religious communities and 56 lay people from parish communities (84 people in all) for two residential sessions: the first session runs from September 4 to 8 and the second from November 5 to 9.

Communion of the Church, formation of the faithful and the role of the laity are the main themes of the first Synod of the Apostolic Administration of the Caucasus. The first session of deliberations were inaugurated at 5pm with a solemn celebration in St. Mary’s Assumption church in Tbilisi.

Chaldean clergy and lay leaders will actively participate in addressing issues relating to the Diaspora of the Chaldean people.  Inherent in their struggles, the Assyro-Chaldeans face difficulty ministering to the community while under pressure of war, persecution, forced cultural migration, and adaptation to cultural pressures and customs imposed by hosting countries. 

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St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.