Wednesday, April 14, 2021
St. Joseph News & Information
Latest News & Information

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Despite Criticisms of Alienating Christians Iraq Presidency Approves Provincial Election Law
By Amer Hedow :: Friday, October 3, 2008 :: 99529 Views :: Law & Order, Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Sulaimaniyah, IRAQ — Today, Iraq's three-member presidency council approved a delayed provincial election law, amidst strong criticism of legally marginalizing Christian representation in the country.  “Again, Iraqi Christians are dealt a devastating blow,” says Issam Najed.  “America’s revolution was ignited over taxation without representation.  In Iraq, Christians are given no representation in the direction of their country.” 

"I think that some political groups are pushing the remaining Christians to leave Iraq," worshipper Afram Razzaq-Allah said after services at a Catholic church in Baghdad. "They want us to feel that we are no longer Iraqis."   Native Americans can empathize with the indigenous people of Iraq.  Iraq's leaders feigned seeking safeguards for small religious communities in this mainly Muslim country as Christians protested parliament's decision for minority representation on provincial councils. 

Matti Galia, a local politician agrees with Razzaq-Allah.  In a rally in Mosul the local leader said, "This is an unjust decision and it affects our rights as Christians. We are original citizens in this country. The politicians' goal was to divide the Iraqi people and create more struggles. Indirectly, they are telling us to leave Iraq."

"The presidency council has adopted the provincial election law," said the official, who is a member of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party.  Talabani and Vice Presidents Adel Abdel Mahdi and Tareq al-Hashemi were all present at the meeting, which was also attended by Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

The council's stamp of approval means Iraq can now finally go ahead with the polls which had originally been scheduled for October 1. 

Iraq's 275-member parliament finally passed the law on September 24 after secretly scraping a key clause that would have reserved seats on provincial councils for Christians and other minorities.

Ignoring calls for justice and fairness, Iraqi leaders forge ahead with elections which will be held early next year in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces.   Although able to scrap Christian representation in parliament, Islamic Kurdish forces threatened ongoing violence and trouble if their demands were not met.  Unable to meet the needs, the council decided to exclude the disputed northern oil province of Kirkuk and the three Kurdish provinces of Arbil, Dohuk and Sulaimaniyah, leaving the areas militarily controlled by Kurdish forces.

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.