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Massacre of Martyrs
By Amer Hedow :: Friday, November 12, 2010 :: 110291 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ – The massacre of Iraqi Christians by Muslim fanatics sent cold shivers of shock across the Western world.  “The heinous killing of women and infants shows what Islam is turning into,” says Fathel Barto, a Chaldean ambulance driver in Iraq through a translator.  “They have become the poison of a snake killing helpless and defenseless women and babies for no reason.  These people do not fight and they do not harm anyone.  These ignorant and barbaric men have sinned against Islam.  Any true believer of Mohammed would be just as mad and openly condemn them and who they are.”

Barto’s assumptions seem to have fallen on deaf ears as Muslim leaders and politicos remain silent and apathetic to what has come to be known as the Massacre of Martyrs.  The attack on the congregation of Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church was the bloodiest single attack on an Iraqi Christian church in recent history. The latest toll now reached nearly a hundred dead and 78 tragically wounded.  Many of the dead and dreadfully wounded were women, toddlers, and small babies attending Sunday services. 

American Chaldeans who have been calling on Washington DC have been turned away with sympathetic nods and comments of condolence.  “They are snakes with forked tongues these politicians.  All they do is talk and write letters showing they share our concern, but do nothing of substantial,” says David Kuza of Rochester, Michigan.  “I voted for Gary Peters and Carl Levin.  People in our community said these politicians can help us.  Instead all they do is write hallmark letters.  If they are serious about helping us let them take a stand by not voting or blocking any new legislation unless serious action is taken to protect Iraqi citizens.”

The White House did issue a generic statement, saying the “United States strongly condemns this senseless act of hostage taking and violence by terrorists linked to al-Qaida in Iraq that occurred Sunday in Baghdad killing so many innocent Iraqis.” 

Nina Shea, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, the White House response was “extremely political correct and uncaring.”  The White House did not mention that the victims were Christians or that they had been attending church.

Kuza goes on to say that America continues to lose trust around the world by invading countries and refusing to fully commit to the stability of the nation.  “America betrayed the South Vietnamese and they were annihilated after U.S. politicians stir up the hornets nest, get what they want, they leave.  They did the same thing in Iraq.  They rush in and kill Saddam and leave the country in Chaos.  Didn’t Colin Powel tell the country if you break it you own it.  Someone needs to tell President Obama they need to fix things before they leave.  Iraq doesn’t even have a functional government and America turns its back.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, A prominent American Jewish leader agrees.  “We are stunned by the barbarity of this onslaught. We share the grief of the survivors, the families of victims, and our many friends in Christian communities worldwide.  But we are also outraged by the indifference of the international community. The only thing more outrageous than the systematic slaughter of families gathered in their place of worship is the overwhelming silence at this heinous act.”

Recently hundreds of mourners gathered at St. Joseph Chaldean church in Karrada, the same Baghdad neighborhood where Sunday’s attack took place to listen to the Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, head of the largest Christian denomination in Iraq, say “They came to church to pray to God and fulfill their religious duty, but the devil’s hand entered the holy place to kill,” AFP reported.

Islamic websites continue to call for the wholesale killing of non-Muslims throughout the world.  In Africa, Russia, Philippines, Israel, America, France, Germany, Denmark, England, and where they are most able; the Middle East.  Egyptian Coptic Christians have faced countless murders and church burnings.  Palestine Christians have dwindled to miniscule amounts.  Sudan, Nigera, and parts of Africa have been falling into tribal wars over the killing of infidels. 

Iraq has become a country without representative government. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki continues to govern as head of a minority government, because Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement, which secured the highest number of seats, has refused to sit with him.

The Kurdish parties, too, have not confirmed reports that they are willing to work with the Maliki-led bloc. The Maliki government has also declined Saudi Arabia’s offer to help in government formation, thus perpetuating the political status quo in which matters seem to be slipping out of the state’s hands.

An indication of the parliamentarians’ self-aggrandizement is their decision to increase their salaries and allowances to $22,500 a month, while they refuse to work with one another or protect the most vulnerable in Iraq.

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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.