Friday, January 22, 2021
St. Joseph News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Mazyn Barash Fights Back Discrimination and Harassment by SMART Bus Employees
By Ann Bahri :: Thursday, January 31, 2008 :: 89008 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans have long endured discrimination and harassment at work.  Accustomed to the persecution Christians faced at the hands of fantastical Muslims. Silently overcoming the humiliation and unfair treatment Chaldeans endured.  “It was not until they torched our homes, raped our children, or forced us into prisons unjustly,” says Chaldean Justice League member Abrahim Kamoo.  “America needed hard workers for their factories and once a few Chaldean families settled in, they saved as much as they could so they could reach back and rescue others.”

In America, Chaldeans continue to face discrimination and unfair treatment.  However, some Chaldeans are fighting back.  A civil right hearing held in Detroit over the racial abuse of Mazyn Barash, 50 by metro Detroit’s suburban bus system. Civil Rights agents have confirmed the repeated harassment and violence against Barash for being Chaldean. 

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights investigated the allegations and found evidence to issue an official charge of discrimination. The public hearing was held today at the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in Downtown, Detroit in the Cadillac Place building.

“Chaldeans have always been treated harshly.  In Iraq, it was because you were Christian.  In the U.S. or Europe it was because you were a foreigner.  Chaldeans were unable to find jobs, buy homes, or even attend school safely.  Nearly forty years have past and Chaldeans still face this barbaric behavior,” adds Kamoo. “This is going on in all professions.  Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and teachers even.  State certified teachers ranked at the top of their class are not being employed by public schools even though a large percent of the students are Chaldeans.   They play this game where school administrators blame the unions and the unions blame the administrators. The bottom line is few Chaldean teachers and no administrators are hired.  You are forced to send your child to their school and they do or understanding nothing about Chaldeans.”

Barash worked as a bus mechanic for 15 years with SMART.  While employed he was routinely threatened, called a “rag head,” “towel head,” and demeaned at work.  After the Iraqi war the harassment began to escalate to violence as coworkers held Barash down and placed towels on his head. 

Barash said that Workers at SMART drew offensive cartoons of people of Middle Eastern descent.  The irony, Barash said, is that he fled Iraq to escape discrimination because he was part of the Christian minority only to face the same treatement in the U.S. "It really scared me," Barash said.

Investigators also uncovered employees placing photos of terrorist on Barash’s time card and one coworker openly talking about killing Iraqis in front of Barash.  After receiving a letter that called Barash a "sand-nigger" warning that he would be hit, the Farmington Hills man feared for his life.  In 2004 after repeatedly suffering from the abuse at work and afraid for his life Barash was forced to quit. 

Kamoo is happy that Chaldeans are organizing and fighting back.  “I am very proud of Barash for fighting back.  He is helping us all by standing up for his rights.  He is taking on the frustration for all Chaldeans and I for one appreciate it.  Chaldeans are tired of taking this treatment and it is good to know there are Chaldeans fighting back.”

e-Mails to SMART human resource, maintenance, and public relations department have all been ignored.  Requests for SMART to share their employee policy on discrimination or information on programs offered to educate employees on the proper respect and treatment of co-workers also were ignored. 

“I will be calling them personally and asking them to please stop discriminating against Chaldeans.  Every Chaldean should let their family and friends know to call SMART and tell them to stop discriminating against Chaldeans.  Anyone can get their phone numbers online or call their public relations department at (313) 223-2182, or their maintenance department at (586) 791-7501 x5505 or their human resource department at (313) 223-2374.  Every call will send a message that Chaldeans will no longer tolerate discrimination.”

comment By www.CHALDEAN.org @ Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:05 PM
Comments from the following blog entry: Mazyn Barash Attacked by SMART Bus for Defending his Civil Rights, located at: http://www.chaldean.org/Home/tabid/36/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/373/Default.aspx

comment By www.CHALDEAN.org @ Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:05 PM
Comments from the following blog entry: Mazyn Barash Attacked by SMART Bus for Defending his Civil Rights, located at: http://www.chaldean.org/Home/tabid/36/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/373/Default.aspx

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.