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California Lebanese-American Representative, Darrell Issa Targeted
By Ray Yono :: Thursday, January 24, 2008 :: 60412 Views :: Government & Society, Chaldean Caucus

California, USA - It seems the Arab Jewish conflict in the Middle East is fast spreading through congress as political and cultural jousting matches get underway. 

“It doesn’t matter if they are Arab or Jew, just as long as the American people are shown justice and fairness.  Isn’t that the American way?” says David Karim, Chaldean political science major in San Diego.  “Sunshine is the greatest disinfectant and it seems Issa is upsetting a whole bunch of people that want to keep things hush, hush.”  

Issa, a Lebanese American has drawn the ire of Jewish groups and pro-Israel congressmen, news papers and media.  Hatred for the representative grew so fierce that Issa was the target of an assassination attempt by Jewish terrorists.  An attempt that implicated two members of the Jewish Defense League and was thwarted by the FBI just days before it was carried out. 

The pro-Isreal congressional supporters at both the American State and Federal levels are upset at California Rep. Darrell Issa.  Issa has been vocal about congressional members misuse of funds.  Most recently, Issa reveled that tax payer funds have overwhelmingly, and what many consider to be unfairly, used for private Jewish organizations and synagogues in California. 

Issa known for his business savvy and fiscal control challenged the unfair distribution of $4.6 million to California for security.  More than half of the money went to private Jewish organizations to pay for such things as blast barriers and bulletproof glass.  Five of the six grants awarded in San Diego County went to Jewish organizations, including Chabad Center of University City. The center will use the $36,000 it received to upgrade the private facility's security cameras, Rabbi Moishe Leider said.

The latest flare-up has New York democratic congressman Rep. Eliot Engel on edge. 

Rep. Eliot Engel, of Jewish descent, angrily accused Issa of unethical behavior.  In late October Issa disclosed in a campaign letter that efforts to limit civilian causalities on both sides of the Israel and Palestine conflict were blocked by pro-Israeli congress members. 

In his letter, Issa criticized members of the “pro-Israel lobby” for blocking the civilian casualty language in the 2006 measure.  Issa singled out the The New York Democrat by stating that Engel, "said language urging restraint to protect civilian life would have been interpreted as a slap to Israel."

The letter from the California Republican was sent to nearly 100,000 members of the Arab community in late October.  “We thought about writing to a community that is disenfranchised,” Issa said, stressing that it was important for that community to know that it had an advocate in Washington.    An Issa campaign spokesman said the response to the letter has been excellent.

Issa a four-term republican congressman said he did not intend to disparage any group.  Many political experts estimate that Jewish votes tend to go more than 80% for the Democrats and feel the campaign letter will have little or no affect on Issa. 

“Issa is a Republican.  Anyone who would get mad at him for revealing that tax payer money was being used to assist religious organizations or being a victim of an assassination attempt is voting Democrat already,” says Karim.  “This is real balance of power.”

Engel "expressed shock" that the letter would have used another member of Congress' name.  "This is unusual and I think it is unfortunate," Engel said to reporters.

After being made aware of Engel’s frustration to his letter, Issa replied that it was common practice to quote other members of congress. 

“I would be shocked if he is shocked,” Issa said to reporters.

Issa’s campaign letter stated that he is only one of five Arab-Americans in Congress and that he understands racism, hate speech, and being treated wrongly.  “With such little representation or understanding of the Arab culture in local, state, and federal government Issa wanted to reach out to the community,” says Karim. “There is nothing wrong with that.  Many in the Arab and Chaldean community are well aware of the racism and invisible blockade against Arabs or Chaldeans.  In Warren, Michigan, you had a Mayor stoking the flames of an Arab invasion to rouse racism in that city to defeat a highly endorsed and qualified Chaldean candidate.” 

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.