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Chaldeans Fast Learning About Legal Muscle
By Neda Ayar :: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 :: 102298 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Chaldean Justice League

California, USA - Chaldeans are very fast learners.  All it took was a number of passengers in 1999 that were stranded in Detroit Metro Airport in Michigan to sue Northwest airlines for wrongful imprisonment.  The 11 hour snowstorm and Northwest’s decision to keep everyone on board affected 7,000 passengers and ultimately cost them $7 million in an out of court settlement. 

Unlike Chaldeans in Michigan, Kate Hanni can’t stand the cold.  The California resident made that painfully clear after American Airlines diverted her flight for more than eight hours a year ago.  The law suite filed by Hanni and another passenger alleges false imprisonment, fraud and negligence. 

“Chaldeans are fed up of being taken advantage of because of our accents, hard-work ethics, or family togetherness.  From my personal experience, people are envious of Chaldeans and don’t like the fact that we are a devoted community,” says Ann Kareem, a Michigan native who was part of the Northwest class action suit.  “Homeowner’s association try to take advantage of Chaldeans, school districts, and clubs do the same because they think they can get away with it or are upset that Chaldeans are successful or how our family’s remain so close.  Whatever the reason, you can ask any Chaldean and they will tell you they are often treated unfairly. I am glad Kate is suing in California, more Chaldeans need to sue.”

Hanni’s flight diverted from Fort Worth to Austin, Texas on December 29, 2006, because of stormy weather over North Texas.  Passengers were forced to remain seated on the plan for hours and weren’t allowed to leave despite overflowing toilets, little food or water. 

Although the flights were among hundreds diverted that day when an unusual system of storms snarled traffic over American's largest hub airport Hanni and other passenger’s challenge the way they were treated.  The disrespect inspired Hanni to create a passenger-rights group and has lobbied Congress to pass an "airline passenger's bill of rights" that would guarantee minimum service levels for air travelers.  Congress refuses to consider such a bill.

Another passenger on the same flight, Catherine Ray, of Fayetteville, Ark., sued in Arkansas. Both suits, filed in circuit courts, seek class-action status and claim that American airlines decision affected 12,000 passengers that day.

The lawsuit claims that the toilets were full and would not flush and the disgusting odor of human excrement and body odor filled the plane.  It also says passengers were deprived of medication and suffered hunger, thirst, anxiety, and physical illness, emotional distress, and monetary loss.

American airline has not replied to www.chaldean.org’s repeated e-mails or phone call messages.  Online research reveals that the airline has implemented new technology to improve its system for dealing with severe weather.  Also, the airline has installed new software for tracking diverted flights and now allows passengers to leave planes after four hours if safety allows.

The class action lawsuit Hanni filed is seeking unspecified damages as well as legal expenses.

Rating
St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.