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Chaldean Teacher Namir Gourguis Freed
By Amer Hedow :: 75730 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Kirkuk, IRAQ – The disputed lands of Kirkuk continue to foster hostilities as the three major factions of Iraq pound Christian minorities in order to seize property and lay claim to the oil rich lands.  Although Iraq is the native home to the Chaldean Catholic Church, one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee since the US-led invasion of March 2003.  “Our people are easy targets.  Iraqi Christians are the Tibetans of the Middle East.  We are peaceful,” says John Anwya.  “These cowards attack Iraq’s native people.”

In northern Iraq a Christian missionary and teacher Namir Nadhim Gourguis, has been freed after just over a week in captivity, according to the Catholic missionary news agency Asia news.

Gourguis was well known in the community and loved.  Mediation by tribal chiefs and local imams led to Gourguis' release just over a week after he was abducted by a gunmen last Thursday at an elementary school near the northern oil city of Kirkuk.

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Chaldeans Worry Over UN Altercation of Iraq Refugee Guidelines
By Huda Metti :: 74838 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

California, USA – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) this week revised its guidelines about Iraqi refugees, scaling down the categories of Iraqis that it says should be granted asylum in all cases.  Central Iraq remains unstable, and refugees from those provinces should be granted asylum, the UNHCR said. Those provinces include Baghdad, Diyala and Ninevah.

Andrew Harper, who leads the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees operation in Iraq, says Chaldeans and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq should receive asylum from Western countries. 

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Chaldeans Fighting to Help Refugees Ignored By Government Agencies
By Amer Hedow :: 83562 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Jaramana, SYRIA – The conditions in Iraq are vastly improving, but ignored in the up-beat news of Iraq’s road to recovery is the struggling plight of Iraqi Christians that remain targets and disenfranchised minority.  Iraqi refugees throughout the region have become increasingly desperate. Despite a decline in violence in Iraq, only a small number have gone home, often because their resources are exhausted. Of those who returned to Iraq, many found their property occupied and suffered secondary displacement.

The international community has been largely in denial over the disastrous humanitarian situation in Iraq, and has until recently seen Iraq through the prism of reconstruction and development, and failed to address urgent needs. Only recently has the United Nations issued a common humanitarian appeal for Iraq, recognizing the nature of the situation and the need for all agencies to address humanitarian needs. Nonetheless, the call by the U.N. remains largely ignored.

The vulnerable displaced Iraqis who have fled their homes for safer locations are unable to access their food rations and often unemployed, they live in squalid conditions, have run out of resources and find it extremely difficult to access essential services. “The US, the government of Iraq and the international community must begin to address the consequences of leaving Iraqis’ humanitarian needs unmet,” says Talal Lazar, a Chaldean advisor to the Jordanian embassy on Middle Eastern Christians.  

As a result of the vacuum created by the failure of both the Iraqi Government and the international community to act in a timely and adequate manner, individuals will play a major role in providing assistance to vulnerable Iraqis.

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The Slaughter After The Pull-Out in Vietnam War May Happen To Iraqi Christians
By Sam Yousif :: 78192 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ – What many Chaldeans have feared in the U.S. Presidential debate has come true.  “We know if America leaves they will come and kill us.  They think we have something to do with them and they think we have money.  The Iraqi government is happy if all Christians leave.  They say they want us to stay, but they don’t mean it.  If they mean it, then they would protect us more,” says Masoud Gallozi. 

In the past few days Iraq Christians have been targeted for slaughter.  The murder of four Christians across Iraq in just two days is raising concern among churches there that another round of religious cleansing has begun. 

Chaldean Monsignor Sako warns that US troop pullout is likely to plunge the country in a “civil war.” Between 31 March and 4 April five Christians are murdered in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Mosul. The prelate calls on the faithful to pray during Holy Week so “that the blood of our martyrs may restore peace.”

Chaldeans in America are frustrated over President Obama’s handling of the Middle East issues.  “There were many Chaldeans fooled into believing the new administration would pressure the Iraqi government to get serious about properly protecting Chaldeans.  These Chaldeans sent an e-mail of a letter by Obama and his people showing he was concerned.  It was just another lie from this man.  A lie that is leaving our people vulnerable.  Those who supported him are partly to blame,” a frustrated James Selmu declares. 

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Chaldeans Being Offered $100,000 for Rare Blood Vaccine
By Sue Garmo :: 106193 Views :: Article Rating :: Health & Fitness, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

California, USA – Chaldean immigrant receives special attention from the U.S. Center for Disease control (CDC) for his blood.  “It is like the movie Arachnophobia where a spider is brought to the U.S., spreads, and creates havoc,” says Dr. Jason Edwin III, Director of Entomology at the CDC.  “We were able to find an Iraqi who has something in his blood that is immune to the spider’s venom and is assisting in treating the infectious bite site of the spider.”

David Abbas of Tel’Kepe, Iraq seems to be immune to the venom of the infamous “Camel Spider” which is identified as the cause of a state-wide outbreak in Nevada.  Abbas was given $100,000 after a sample of his blood proved to contain the necessary antibodies.  The CDC is now asking Chaldeans in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Michigan to be tested.  Those with the rare blood immunity will be offered a $100,000 in order for the CDC to have enough vaccine to stop the epidemic from spreading outside of Nevada.  

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Chaldean Refugees Arrive in Germany
By Sabah Hajjar :: 76982 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

GERMANY - Germany has long fought for the protection of war refugees and has taken their cases to the EU on numerous occasions.  Germany has agreed to resettle 2,500 Iraqi refugees, said the Amman office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday, March 10, adding that 2,000 would come from Syria and 500 from Jordan.
 
The first batch of refugees will be soon leaving Jordan for resettlement in Germany, Dana Bajjali, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR office in Amman told DPA news agency without indicating the precise date of their departure. Around 120 Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in Germany on Thursday in search of a better and safer future away from the turmoil of their home country.
 
Amnesty International's Julia Duchrow explains that the successful asylum applicants have a clean criminal record and can not have been members of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Baath party.  Single mothers, those suffering from post-traumatic stress and people with ties to Germany also had a greater chance of having their application for asylum approved, she added. 

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Iraq Becoming Islamic State Hostile to Non-Muslims
By Amer Hedow :: 102889 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

London, UK – Lord Alton called for the government in the north of Iraq to return land that had been seized from minority groups.  "The Kurdish Regional Government needs to ensure a swift and complete return of Christian homes, land and property that has been misappropriated ­ which includes 58 Christian villages taken by Kurds.

"How The Kurdish and Iraqi authorities treat their minorities ­ including Christians, Yezidis, and Mandaeans ­ will be a test of their determination to create a tolerant society respectful of difference."

Around 90 people packed into a House of Lords' committee room to attend a hearing about the crisis currently facing minorities in Iraq.

A statement from the Syriac and Chaldean Churches read out at the meeting similarly sounded a note of caution about the direction the country was taking: "It seems that Iraq is one step closer to becoming an Islamic state intolerant to non-Muslims".

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Chaldeans Overwhelmingly Plan to Vote YES on California Prop. 4 & 8 and NO on Michigan 1 & 2
By Sam Yousif :: 75365 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

California, USA – Chaldeans in California and Michigan are eager to vote on their state ballot initiatives.  In California an effort to prohibit or allow homosexual marriage is on the ballot as proposition 8. In Michigan, the statewide ballot is asking voters to either allow or reject the use of marijuana (proposal1) and embryo research (proposal 2). 

“Chaldeans in California and Michigan should understand that all three of these issues are very important.  The cost to Chaldeans and America is very high if gay marriage is allowed, embryos are killed for research, or drugs are made legal,” says Ann Bodagh, of El Cajon.  “Chaldeans need to work together to prevent America from slipping even further.”

Bodagh’s opinion is the majority, but liberal corporations, like Apple computers and Levi Straus jeans are throwing big money to help fund the passing of proposition 8.  In Michigan, drug companies, the DNC, and Planned Parenthood are hoping marijuana use and embryo research get passed. 

We examine all three propositions.

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Can A Difference Be Made By Chaldeans Calling for Action?
By Mary Esho :: 101748 Views :: Article Rating :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

 California, USA – An unlikely duo seem to breaking through the information blackout of Iraq’s desperate situation.  Contrary to news coverage that Iraq is healing, few if any major media outlets are covering Iraq’s minority persecution. 

Chaldean Catholic Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad, Iraq, expressed sadness over what he viewed as a chronic lack of concern and concrete action to stop the violence and protect all of Iraq's citizens.  Greater attention and pressure are needed so that the Iraqi government can "be just and fulfill its duty toward its citizens," he said.

Echoing the Cardinal’s call urging everyone to help call attention to the injustice, Chaldean star rapper Timz, winner of the Hollywood Film Festival's "Video of the Year" and nominee for the MTV Video Music Awards' "Video of the Year," releases another hip-hop masterpiece titled “Do Something.”  A powerful call to action that begins with a hypnotic beat mixed with middle eastern flair beginning with a message from Timz himself to “Change the world, not the channel.”

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Chaldean Protest Raising Awareness
By Amer Hedow :: 72399 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Mosul, IRAQ— Shocking the conscience of anyone who would dare pay a few minutes of attention, Christians are being mowed down in Mosul.  Community activists in Australia, England, US, Denmark, and Germany are begging world governments to do more than talk.  Activists are protesting in front of city halls, holding meetings, getting petitions signed, attempting any and all efforts to raise the awareness and conscience of world leaders, turning a blind eye to the genocide of Iraqi Christians. 

Nearly 10,000 Christians — roughly half the city's Christian population — have fled this month because of organized and targeted threats and attacks, according to Iraqi officials.  Christians in Iraq are fast losing faith and trust with the Iraq government.  Few Iraqi Christians are returning to the restive city of Mosul despite government pledges of financial support and protection, officials said Wednesday.

Attempts to bribe families back into the city have fallen on deaf ears. The prime minister offered every Christian family that returns to Mosul 1 million Iraqi dinars — about $865, said Jawdat Ismaeel, a local migration official.  But less than a handful of Christians have returned, he said.

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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.