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Chaldean Business Leaders Say Apology Weak and Not Enough
By Rita Abro :: Saturday, October 27, 2007 :: 83408 Views :: Business & Finance, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - It has turned out to be a community call-to-the-test. Chaldeans in Michigan have taken a firm stance against Miller brewing company.  The South African company was recently put on notice by religious leaders to stop supporting hate groups.  South African Brewery Miller, also known as SABMiller or Miller beer has been giving nearly $100,000 annually to the San Francisco Folsom Street Fair which encourages and promotes Christian mockery and hate. 

A grassroots group of Chaldean community leaders have begun an active and aggressive campaign against Miller in hopes the multinational company will see the error of its way. 

“The Chaldean community has been deeply offended, and to add insult to injury many small business retailers in our community have long been partners in distributing Miller products.  After seeing what Miller is supporting store owners quickly began removing Miller off their shelves,” says Chaldean Justice League board member Remon Jiddou.  “We have teams of volunteers that are driving all through Southeast Michigan showing pictures of what the store owner is supporting when they sell Miller products.  They can see first hand the Christian hate.”

The Chaldean Justice League held a town hall meeting this past Tuesday bringing to light SABMiller’s support of the leather fetish and Christian hate fair.  Representatives from Miller brewing company and their local distributors stubbornly refused the Chaldean Catholic Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim’s plea to stop supporting the fair and to genuinely apologize for the pain they caused. 

Guest speaker Mike Setto, who triggered the boycott after removing Miller from his convenient store, told the nearly 200 Chaldean Store owners to, “not be afraid.”  The passionate plea brought tears to the eyes of audience members as Setto shared the importance of his faith and how it carried him through his personal trials and tribulations.  “We have had family members gunned down and murdered selling their products.  We have given Miller our blood, sweat, and tears, and this is how they repay us; by attacking the core of what a Chaldean is,” says Robert Kakos, Chaldean Justice League board member and town hall emcee.  

“Our faith has kept us safe since Christianity began.  We have been chased, beaten, kidnapped, ransomed, and our daughters and sisters have been raped by those who hate Christians yet, we remain committed to Christ.   To this day our people are being killed and martyred. Our priest and nuns are being abducted, tortured, and killed for believing in Jesus.,” Kakos passionately speaks. 

Loud cheers and standing ovations rocked the church hall.  The group handed out pledge sheets asking business owners to remove Miller from their stores.  They also handed out signs letting their customers know of Millers despicable support of hate, a hot-line phone number to call and report stores that are selling or not selling Miller, and have published an online list of those who refuse to sell Miller and those who continue to sell Miller. 

The Chaldean Justice League has taken the campaign against Miller very seriously.  “We have volunteers calling and informing retailers of the boycott against Miller and encouraging them to remove Miller from their Shelves.  We also have teams of drivers helping them remove Miller from their shelves.  I was happy to get in their cooler and toss the Miller poison off their shelf,” says Athir Salem. 

Athir Salem praises King of Woodward convenient store, owned by Saad Shamasha just a few blocks down from ABA Market.  “I walk into King of Woodward and he has sign’s all over the place showing his customers the hate that Miller supports.  As soon as you walk into the store and on every cooler door he has a message for Miller to respect his religion.”

Shamasha says his business has increased as customers come to learn about Miller’s support of hate.  The store owner has made hundreds of copies of the letter and pictures explaining what Miller supports.  “I pass them out to all my customers and tell them to help get the word out about Miller,” says Shamasha.  Customers in parking lot of the store say they will be taking the letter and pictures to their local churches and asking their pastors to get involved.  

Attempting to counter the campaign, Miller distributors have begun passing out the initial apology letter released by Millers public relations office attempting to appease store owners.  

The Chaldean Justice League has received reports of distributors harassing Chaldean store owners for discontinuing Miller.  “These stupid drivers call us terrorists and say they will have us deported if we don’t sell their products,” says Kevin Dinkha. “They are scared if we stay together.  They know we will then have the power to stop them from taking advantage of us.”

"Chaldeans ought to be proud of the business leaders who have taken a strong stand for thier faith.  They have earned our respect and admiration," says Jiddou.

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.