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Chaldean Family in Michigan Harrassed by Their Homeowner Association for Having Virgin Mary Statue
By Huda Metti :: Friday, March 20, 2009 :: 91470 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA – “In Iraq if you show any Christian religious symbol in front of your home they send you a letter or take you to court.  How is this management company any different than those that threaten and oppress Christians in third world, communist, and fascist countries,” says Andrew Abdel.

Abdel is incensed at the Tolgate Woods Homeowners association in Novi who has sent a letter asking the Samona family to remove a virgin statue from their front lawn.  A statue that has adorned the home since 2004.  The Samona family is well known in the Chaldean community.  Farouk Samona is a deacon (Shamasha) at the Chaldean Cathedral in Michigan and both his wife and son are active parishioners in women and youth ministry. 

This is the second time the family has been harassed by the homeowner association for their faith.  The first time was back in 2004 during Christmas when the family was sent a letter demanding the removal of their nativity scene. 

The homeowners association and their management company have not returned calls explaining their position and motive regarding this issue.  The association uses Professional Association Management, inc (248-374-9375) to do their dirty work says Abdel.  “If any other homeowner association uses this company they should fire them immediately.  This is a company that does not know how to manage and keep their customers, the homeowners, safe and comfortable.  This company and the bigoted board are the ones that make Christian homeowners feel unsafe and unwelcome.

The Samona family vow to fight the threatening letter with a lawsuit.  They have hired attorney Lawerence Lieb to defend their constitutional rights.   Major media outlets have also covered the story throughout metro-Detroit receiving hundreds of calls and comments encouraging the family to continue the fight.  

“There are seven houses that they have statues on their street.  None of them have received letters asking them to remove their statues. Something is not right with the board people on Tolgate Woods.  They seem to hate Christians.  In my opinion this is a hate crime,” says Abdel.

Doug Koester, president of the association, refuses to say why the letter was sent and the motive behind the threatening letter.   The Samona family has contacted Novi police department and asking them to be on alert should trespassers harm their property. 

In an e-mail interview, Jospeh Samona, the son of the family that is helping to spearhead the defense effort writes, “This is a mater that we take very seriously and will not back down from. This is our faith. I am not trying to make anyone believe my faith all that matters is I know my faith and I know I love the Virgin Mary.  All this has done is make my family stronger.”

The passionate family is taking the threat very seriously and tired of the continual harassment of their faith by the association.  Joseph adds, “Anyone wishing to harass us in this matter is not welcomed on our property. I have contacted the Novi police and have let them know that anyone who comes on our property as a form of harassment will have criminal charges against them for trespassing. This is no joke.”

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.