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SMART is not so Smart - Chaldean awarded half-million dollars
By Rita Abro :: 79927 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Chaldean Justice League
Michigan, Detroit — A case brought to you by CHALDEAN.org back in early 2000 is reaching its conclusion.  For Chaldean Mazyn  Barash the nightmare is over and justice is finally being served.  For over eight years Barash has been fighting the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation for infringing his Civil Rights.  This week the Michigan Civil Rights Commission has awarded nearly half a million dollars to Mr. Barash, a former Chaldean employee who was the victim of ongoing harassment and abuse by managers and co-worker of SMART because of his Iraqi descent.  

“He went through hell and he stood courageously for his rights,” says Amar Bahri, who has been watching the case closely.  “He may not know it, but he has helped the Chaldean community a great deal.  He has helped stand against such injustice that Chaldeans face every day in schools, at work, and when trying to find jobs in Michigan.  God bless him and I hope other Chaldeans are able to stand as strong as he has.”

“Nothing can replace the years of torment my client has suffered at the hands of his employer,” said Attorney and Michigan Advisory Board Chairman Shereef Akeel in a statement. “But Mazyn has been a champion in his efforts to rid discrimination in the workplace.”
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Massacre of Martyrs
By Amer Hedow :: 112455 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.”

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Slayed Chaldean Mourned
By Sam Yousif :: 81367 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Chaldean Justice League

California, USA  – Senseless death after senseless death rocks the Chaldean community.  From news of loved ones murdered for their religion in Iraq, refugees able to escape the religious persecution are forced into subhuman conditions and feared dead, and in America as the economic toll of the country takes its course, Chaldeans remain especially vulnerable to robbery, mayhem, and murder. 

For a culture with strong family relations, the devastation is catastrophic.  “Chaldeans value their family relationships,” says Raymond Bahri, a Michigan social worker.  “They tend to come from a large family and pull their resources together to survive.  The family traditions and get-togethers like birthdays, communions, and graduations are widely celebrated as feasts.” 

Perhaps that is why the pain of losing a loved one to a senseless murder over money is so devastating to the Chaldean community.  “Something as priceless as the family relationship being ripped apart by murder is shocking,” adds Bahri.  “It breaks my heart to learn of the murder.”

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Killing of Chaldeans Continue Despite Promises of Added Security
By Amer Hedow :: 134603 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Justice League

Chaldeans grip the cross bars as the roller coaster of their existence takes another steep and deadly plummet.

Baghdad, IRAQ – Yet another targeted religious execution of Iraqi Christians takes place in northern Iraq.   An armed commando storms the neighborhood of al Saa, near the monastery of the Domincan fathers on a killing rampage killing 55 year old Chaldean businessman, Sabah Yacoub Gurgis.  The well known entrepreneur owned an eyeglass factory, employing many Arabs and minorities in the city near the Tigris River. 

Neighboring Christians are terrified that the killings will continue.   The shooting is just the latest in a long trail of blood that has forced hundreds of Chaldean families to flee the city toward the plain of Nineveh or abroad. A spiral of violence that grew in the months preceding the parliamentary elections of  March 7, so much so that Msgr. Emil Shimoun Nona, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, spoke of an "Endless Via Crucis".

Iraqi Christians continue to escape the country as killings and religious persecutions intensify.  “The election and Easter season has given the crazy killers motivation to wipe out all the Christians in Iraq,” says Husam Ashaki, who barely managed to survive the rampage killing in the city.  “We are all trying to figure out how we can leave.  We are not even safe in north.  They follow us here and are very thirsty for Christian blood.  No mater if it is a man, woman, or child.  They kill even small children and babies if they know they are Christian.”

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Iraqi Minority Remain Targets Despite Government Claims of Safety
By Sam Yousif :: 135706 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Justice League

Baghdad, IRAQ – Iraqi Christians march in Mosul and Baghdad and hold prayer vigils in Kirkuk to draw attention to unending murders of minorities in Iraq.   In recent weeks alone, minority men, women, and children have been abducted, killed, raped, harrased, and tortured.  Those surviving have returned with ominous messages that Christians are no longer allowed to be in Iraq. 

Mgr Emil Shimoun Nona of Mosul confirmed that hundreds of families have left Mosul in the last few days, about 600 in a community of some 4,000 people, according to a United Nations report.  The prelate said, “about 400 families have escaped.”

Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul led over 1,000 Iraqi Catholics in a silent protest on February 28 to demand that the government act to put a stop to violence against Christians there.

The United Nations estimated that 683 Christians fled Mosul between February 20 and February 27. Chaldean Catholic Bishop Emil Shimoun Nona of Mosul estimated that "about 400 families" had left the city's community of 4,000 Christians.

“The daily massacre suffered by the Christian community … is met with indifference from the authorities,” said Archbishop Casmoussa on the eve of the march. “We will be fasting and praying for peace and for the survival of Christians.”

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Store Owners Faced Civil Lawsuit After Beating Store Robber
By Paul Gori :: 110629 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – “It is hard enough to make a living in Michigan. Now we have to give up the right to protect ourselves when our lives are being threatened.  This state is getting way out of control,” says Andrew Gabara, of Clinton Township. 

Gabara’s comments are in light of the ongoing frustration Chaldeans in Clinton Township are feeling regarding the Nick’s Party Stop robbery.  “This state is backward.  They were protecting themselves form being robbed and now they are being sued.  Where is the justice?”

Scott Zielinski, who was found guilty and sentenced to prison for the November 2007 robbing Nick’s Party Stop in Clinton Township sued the store owner and employees from prison for beating him up during the robbery.  John Acho, and three employees including Acho's nephew Justin Kallo, who shot Zielinski twice were named in the suit. 

Zielinski, 23, filed the lawsuit in April after he was shot while robbing the store on Cass Avenue, south of 19 Mile Road, near Chippewa Valley High School. Zielinski, wielding a knife and wearing a mask, entered the store about 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 2007, and demanded cash and cigarettes. As he fled out the front door carrying a bag of money and cigarettes, he was shot in the arm.

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Iraqi Police Unable or Unwilling to Stop Christian Attacks
By Amer Hedow :: 134474 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ — Iraqi Chaldeans site that the Najaf local government are playing politics with their lives and livelihood.  “They are telling the people of Najaf that we are not worthy to live in the city, just to win votes,” says Dawood Abdel, a well known Chaldean political commentator in Iraq. 

Local Iraqi authorities have outlawed alcohol in the province of Najaf, home to the holiest Shiite city, saying it contradicts the principles of Islam.  The decision to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol highlights efforts by religious parties to win support with Shiite voters before crucial parliamentary elections this January are causing an alarming spike in attacks against Iraqi Christians.

Alcohol consumption is forbidden under Islam, and liquor stores have often been targeted by both Sunni and Shiite extremists in Iraq.  The stores are widely owned and operated by Iraqi Christians, and the move by the Najaf provincial council is seen as credible proof of the fears among the Christian minority and secular Muslims that religious extremism is growing in the country.

The Najaf provincial council's decision followed a similar measure taken in August by authorities in the southern port city of Basra.  Shortly after the measure in Basra, Christians were targeted and forced to leave the city. 

Khalid al-Jashaami, a Najaf provincial council member says, "In order to protect the holiness of the holy city of Najaf, the provincial council of Najaf decided unanimously to ban the selling and transit of all kinds of alcohol." Al-Jashaami adds that violators will face trial. 

The continual intimidation of Christians grow as Muslim extremist move into government roles, changing laws and justifying the seizure of Christian property.  “They do this slowly and try to hide what they are doing.  They attack any printing house that writes about the laws being written.  They have burned the warehouses and kidnapped the family members.  The police do nothing, but say we are investigating,” says Abdel.

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Chaldean Dearborn Michigan Resident Freedom Stripped
By Sam Yousif :: 99018 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – Chaldeans are outraged at the city of Dearborn and the Dearborn police department.  “The police and city officials are cowards,” said a disgusted Yousif Salem.  “They are afraid to defend the rights of this great country and their weakness shames every real American.  I am an American citizen and my rights were stripped away because they are afraid.  The Dearborn police and city are cowards.  Arabs in Iraq and Iran are risking their lives for freedom and in Dearborn Michigan, American born wimps run and hide like cowards.”

Salem’s outrage comes on the heel of a court ruling prohibiting his friends from passing out Christian literature at the Dearborn Arab International festival.  The 14th annual Dearborn Arab International Festival is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors Friday through Sunday to the city that has the Detroit area's greatest concentration of Arab-Americans.

“We are upset with festival organizers.  They have now tainted this once beautiful cultural festival as being un-American,” says Salem.  “They are hurting Islamic Arabs as well as Christian Arabs by having the group thrown out.  This is not good for Arab and American relations.  There is only so much more Americans will take from these radicals in their own country.” 

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Chaldean Family in Michigan Harrassed by Their Homeowner Association for Having Virgin Mary Statue
By Huda Metti :: 115593 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA – “In Iraq if you show any Christian religious symbol in front of your home they send you a letter or take you to court.  How is this management company any different than those that threaten and oppress Christians in third world, communist, and fascist countries,” says Andrew Abdel.

Abdel is incensed at the Tolgate Woods Homeowners association in Novi who has sent a letter asking the Samona family to remove a virgin statue from their front lawn.  A statue that has adorned the home since 2004.  The Samona family is well known in the Chaldean community.  Farouk Samona is a deacon (Shamasha) at the Chaldean Cathedral in Michigan and both his wife and son are active parishioners in women and youth ministry. 

This is the second time the family has been harassed by the homeowner association for their faith.  The first time was back in 2004 during Christmas when the family was sent a letter demanding the removal of their nativity scene. 

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California Chaldean Store Owners Are Feeling Safer
By Sam Yousif :: 89450 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society

California, USA – Local convenient store owners in the El Cajon and the San Diego area feel safer.  Jeda Athra, a mother of three teenagers works long hours with her husband at a corner retail store says she is happy to see the police and prosecuting attorneys taking a stronger stance against crime.  “They need to clean-up the criminals from the streets and let everyone know that holding-up a store in our town means you will go to jail.”

Athra’s husband adds, “Our state is bankrupt which means more crime and more problems.  We need police to scare bad people away from here before they kill anyone else.  Look at those two evil criminals that now face the death penalty.  It does not pay to hurt people in our city.”

The convenient store couple refer to the Thanksgiving bandits.  Franko “Dopes” Bernal and Samuel Thomas “Tommy” McCauley, 21 face a death sentence or life in prison for gunning down store workers in 2006.

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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.