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Mazyn Barash Fights Back Discrimination and Harassment by SMART Bus Employees
By Ann Bahri :: Thursday, January 31, 2008 :: 114686 Views :: Article Rating :: 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 @ 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:

comment By @ 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:

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.