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Iraqi Christians in Mosul Victims to Intense Violence
By Amer Hedow :: Monday, October 13, 2008 :: 80259 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Mosul, IRAQ - Despite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledge yesterday to protect Christians in Iraq after mass killings in the northern city of Mosul, thousands of Chaldeans flee as Islamic radicals turn-up the violence. 

Proving the weakness of Maliki’s government and the vulnerability of Iraqi Christians, a music store owner was shot to death in the northern city of Mosul.  Police sources said on Monday gunmen entered the store late on Sunday and shot dead the Iraqi Christian store owner and his nephew, who was wounded.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an immediate investigation into the murders of Christians in Mosul and pledged to take all steps necessary to protect the community. 

"We will take immediate action to resolve the problems and difficulties faced by Christians in Mosul," Maliki said in a statement released by his office after meeting with two Christian lawmakers.

Iraq deployed around 1,000 police on the streets of Mosul earlier Sunday, after thousands of members of the minority group began to flee in terror following the worst surge of violence against them in five years.

Maliki also ordered a probe into the attacks on Christians in Mosul since September 28.  "I will instruct the security authorities in Nineveh province to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the (Christian) community so that they can live safely like the rest of the people in Iraq," Maliki said.

Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province.

"Christians have the right to live in safety and dignity and they are a fundamental part of the Iraqi people who deserve care and attention and appreciation and have their needs provided for," Maliki added.

Yunadem Kanna, one of two Christians in parliament, told AFP that Maliki had promised him action.

"I just met with Maliki and he promised to deliver," Kanna said, adding that the army and not just police had to move into the area in force if the law was to be upheld.

Since the US-led invasion of 2003 more than 200 Christians had been killed and a string of churches attacked, with the violence intensifying in recent weeks, particularly in the north, Iraqi Christian leaders have said.

There were around 800,000 Christians in Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, a number that has since shrunk by around a third as the faithful have fled the country, Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako told news reporters last week.

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.