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Chaldean Voters Ready for Michigan Primary Election Tuesday, August 5
By Sam Yousif :: 142940 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials, Chaldean Caucus

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean Caucus has sent out over 6,000 e-mails and mailed out over 2,000 letters to likely Chaldean voters reminding them that tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5 are the primary elections.  “We want to keep the Chaldean community informed and excited about local races as much as the upcoming presidential race,” says Lauren George, western district Chaldean Caucus representative. 

Politicians have come to realize the importance of winning the Chaldean vote says George.  “The community values democracy.  Coming from a country that would kill your entire family should you dare consider thinking and acting in democratic ways, we are hungry to participate.  Our community is active in campaigns, involved in running for politics, and we get out the vote.”

The largest population of Chaldeans in the United States lives in Oakland County, Michigan.  George says that political candidates in that county wisely court the Chaldean constituency knowing that Chaldeans can make all the difference. 

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Cell Phone Early Contract Termination Fees Illegal
By David Najor :: 109204 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

California, USA - For many Chaldeans, the cell phone is a life-line to the family.  “Long hours at work, family members pulled in hundreds of different directions, constantly on the run; that’s the life of a Chaldean,” says Joseph Jirjis, store manager of Shop Cellular in El Cajon California.  “We have to stay in touch with one another.  That is how we are able to help one another and make sure everyone is safe.  Even my grandmother has a cell phone.”

Chaldeans often complained about the additional fees cell phone companies would add to a plan.  “They nickel and dime a customer to death,” Jirjis adds.  “Based on the company, we have to follow their plan, and they have all sorts of fees.  Many of our customers get shocked to see all the fees.”

The termination fee in particular upset many customers.  Cellular phone companies would sell contracts to customers and if a customer terminated their contract early an additional fee was added.    However, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law.

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Chaldean Pilgrims Question Carey, Ohio Safety
By Sam Yousif :: 84142 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Faithful Chaldean pilgrims are concerned over Carey, Ohio’s Feast of the Assumption gathering at Our Lady of Consolation Shrine this year.  For years a radical evangelical group, by the name of The Street Preachers Fellowship congregate to disrupt the Assumption procession of Catholics.  One confrontation practically ended up as a riot in 2006 raising the attention of the federal government. 

“With numerous eye witness accounts of the evangelical’s group intimidating, threatening, and ruckus behavior Carey’s Chief of Police, Dennis Yingling turns a blind eye,” says attorney Bobby Kassab.  “We have spoken with the federal authorities who have hinted that the FBI might be present since the intimidation and threats can be construed as hate crimes.”

Chief Yingling is on record blaming young Chaldeans.  Fr. Hadnagy of Our Lady of Consolation Shrine is shocked at the Chief’s stance.  “Was he even there?   I find it incredible that a police chief doesn't understand that when a band of people [The Street Preachers Fellowship], who admit they want trouble, start trouble that they're not to blame," said Father Hadnagy.

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Australia Denies Visas to Iraqi Chaldean WYD Pilgrims
By Rita Abro :: 177537 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

The Catholic News Agency reports that the Australian government has denied visas to dozens of Chaldean World Youth Day pilgrims from Iraq.  Australian officials say they are concerned that participants will not return home and instead will seek asylum in Australia. One Chaldean Catholic priest called the decision “a slap at young people who wanted to go to witness to the faith and the joy of the church’s living in Iraq despite sufferings.”

Initially the Australian government denied visas for nearly 170 pilgrims, allowing only ten visas to aspiring World Youth Day participants, the SIR News Agency says. According to the website Baghdadhope, there are now only about 30 total visas available that will be granted “in extremis.”

Father Rayan P. Atto, parish priest of Mar Qardagh Church in Erbil, told SIR News Agency that the concerns about asylum seekers were unfounded, arguing that, “for young Christian Iraqis, taking part in the WYD in Sydney was not a way to leave their country.”

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Iraqi Christians Targeted In Order to Keep Them Oppressed
By Sabah Hajjar :: 70130 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Mosul, IRAQ – Christian churches in Iraq continue to receive threatening notices foreshadowing potentially violent attacks against the non-Muslim religious centers.  In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul parishioners fear the worst after a letters were received asking them not to cooperate with US forces. 

“We don’t cooperate with anyone.  They use this as an excuse to attack, torture, hold for ransom, and kill innocent people,” says Khalid Bunni, a parishioner in the region.  

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Iraq's Persecution of Christians Continues to Spiral out of Control
By Sabah Hajjar :: 87228 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ - Senior research fellow, Brian J. Grim, paints a harrowing picture of the ongoing persecution of Iraqi Christians.  The research expert on religion and world affairs with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C. reports that the situation for Christians in Iraq is worsening. 

“It is no small irony, of course, that the Shiite majority that's now a leading force in Iraq was brutalized and suppressed under Saddam, who extensively curbed the Shiites' religious freedoms. A State Department report in 2002 said Saddam's government ‘severely restricts or bans outright many Shiite religious practices.’ One might think that those fresh memories would be enough to ensure liberties for Iraq's religious minorities today. Yet that appears not to be the case,” writes Grim in his report. 

Iraqi Christians are part of historic indigenous communities that have been in what is now Iraq nearly since the time of Christ, several centuries before Islam came to the region. The majority of them are Chaldean Christians, an ancient religious group affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

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Obama's Attempt to Please Everyone Backfires
By Chaldean Caucus :: 74237 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, Chaldean Caucus

Michigan, USA - Obama’s relations with Muslims were further stressed as a private back-door meeting spiraled downward over Jewish support.    Among over 150 African-American community leaders and a handful of Arab-Americans were invited to the private meeting.  An argument ensued between Obama and  Osama Siblani regarding the presidential hopeful’s public support of Israel. 

“The more people learn about him the more they feel he is like any other politician,” says Husam Abid, a Chaldean business man in Detroit, Michigan.  “I was told that the Arabs at the meeting made it clear that they want Obama to return to his roots and stand against Jews.  Others feel Obama is purposely alienating Muslims to mask his heritage and show he would not favor Islam.”

Chaldean community leaders, like Ramzi Dalloo, of Troy Michigan  are hopeful that Obama’s efforts to reach out to the two communities are reciprocated.  Nonetheless, tension between Jews and Obama grows.  A website sharing Jewish frustration titled, www.JewsAgainstObama.com is gaining national attention.  The site catalogs Obama’s anti-Jewish stance.  Danny Ayalon, Israel's former ambassador in Washington adds to the growing discourse in a published article in the Jerusalem Post.  Ayalon writes that the Democratic candidate wasn’t entirely forthright regarding Israel. 

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Hidden Tax and Free Labor Claims in Michigan Bottle Return Law
By David Najor :: 144398 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - “Chaldean convenient and grocery market retailers are unhappy about this,” says Jalal Rayes, a prominent consultant to Chaldean food retailers in southeast Michigan.  “You can’t keep kicking small businesses.  We are tired of it.  The state already has added more taxes, more regulation, more fees for permits, more taxes for equipment, and now is considering turning our businesses into recycle centers.  They just can’t afford it.  It hurts customers, employees, and businesses that are keeping Michigan alive.”


The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) kicked off an initiative today to convince the legislature to add a 10-cent deposit for water bottles.   This is the same group that originally pushed for Michigan to become the first state to require deposits on pop bottles.

The idea has come under harsh criticism from Chaldeans and many others in the business community, mainly those that would be responsible for handling all the new empty containers. 

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Chaldean Travel Spot Under Threat Because of Christian Cross
By Sam Yousif :: 71816 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society


Michigan, USA – Many would say it is a rite of passage for Michigan Chaldeans to visit Frankenmuth.  The Bavarian village, dubbed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” has rich cultural and historical significance and is one of the largest tourist attractions in Michigan.  The small town is now facing legal pressure to strip all religious symbols from their village.  The legal threats hope to end the all-year Christmas displays, removal of the Cross from the town shield, and the destruction of the Cross in the city park.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has taken steps to challenge the city for its use of religions symbols. In response, the City Council of Frankenmuth unanimously voted to retain the Thomas More Law Center to defend its unique historical and cultural heritage.  

Christian persecution in America is not necessarily physical abuse says David Haddad, a student of world history.  He asserts that it is more psychological and systematic intimidation that will eventually lead to physical abuse.  “When a Chaldean thinks of ‘persecution’ our minds turn to the humiliating and horrible conditions we faced as a people or the holocaust our people suffered during World War I,” Haddad adds. 

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Chaldean in Oak Park Michigan Offended by Tax Increase Reasons
By Sam Yousif :: 38314 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans in Oak Park, Michigan are perplexed over plans by Oak Park Mayor to ask its residents to approve a tax hike.  The mayor says the money is needed to keep two public safety officers on the payroll and buy patrol cars in the wake of budget cuts.

Mayor Gerald Naftaly says the city had to cut $900,000 from its 2008-09 budget because of declining revenues.  A decline that many say has been caused because of the city’s inability to keep property values from plummeting.  “I don’t understand why Mayor Naftaly has to cut police.  There are other ways to save money for the city,”  Oak Park resident,
Imad Kuza says

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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.