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Chaldean Justice League

The growth and decline of the Aramaic language
By Sabah Hajjar :: 77325 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Justice League

The Associated Press writes that the Syrian government sent reinforcements Friday to the ancient, predominantly Christian village of Maaloula, where rebels have battled regime troops this week. Maaloula, a scenic village of about 3,300 perched high in the mountains, is one of the few places in the world where residents still speak a version of Aramaic, the language of biblical times believed to have been used by Jesus.

A look at the growth and decline of the Aramaic language through the centuries:

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SMART is not so Smart - Chaldean awarded half-million dollars
By Rita Abro :: 82475 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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Card Playing Chaldeans Question American Freedoms
By Paul Gori :: 107054 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

California, USA – “Chaldeans fortunate enough to make it to the land of milk and honey are getting a genuine swig of sour milk and crusty honey,” says Joseph Badoun.  California, El Cajon officials have been in debate on how to deal with Chaldean senior citizens gathering to play cards.  “This whole ordeal is a joke.  These are men in their final years, many of who are church elders, and community fathers playing cards in a community center.”

Badoun may laugh-off the ordeal, but to Chaldean seniors the issue has been unsettling and stressful.  El Cajon officials have launched aggressive crackdowns targeting Chaldeans and there gathering places.   Calls to the Mayor’s office initially went unanswered as to the reason or motive behind the crackdowns. 

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Slayed Chaldean Mourned
By Sam Yousif :: 84351 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 :: 138757 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 :: 139993 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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An AlQosh Man Struggles to Keep a Promise to an Old Friend
By Amer Hedow :: 133137 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, World News & Odds 'N' Ends, Chaldean Justice League

AlQosh, IRAQ – Abandoned since 1948 by native Iraqi Jews remains the tomb of the Jewish Prophet Nahum, a minor prophet in the Hebrew Bible.  Nahum wrote about the Assyrian Empire and the plains of Ninevah and prophesized the fall of Assyrian Kingdom for failing to turn from their pagan ways. 

Nahum was written after the fall of Israel in 722 BC but before the fall of Ninevah in 612. It is very likely, based upon the description of the relationship between Assyria and Judah, that Nahum prophesied in the early reign of King Josiah. Assyria was in the last days of its great power. They still controlled most of the Middle East. However, Babylon, Persia, and Egypt were all expanding in strength.

Literary enthusiasts would appreciate the irony that the tomb has been gently cared for and preserved by native Iraqi Christians.  After Iraqi Jews were forced to leave their country over half a century ago due to their religious difference with the prevailing Muslims of the region, Sami Jajouhana was asked to be the keeper of Nahum's tomb. He was handed the iron keys and an old leather ledger by his Jewish friend who left al-Qosh in 1948.  Jajouhana promised his dear friend to care for the sacred site for Jews.   

Beneath one of the few remaining standing synagogues in all of Iraq, Nahum's tomb is at risk.  For over half a century, few Jewish pilgrims have journeyed to the site.  Nonetheless, Jajouhana keeps his promise to his old friend, by recording the few who do tour the tomb or visit the synagogue and to care for their holy place.   Jajouhana has handled the landscaping, cleaned the vandalism that often plaques the monument, and managed repairs the best he can with the minuscule resources his family has in honor of his friendship and his friend’s convictions. 

The building is crumbling and in need of major repairs.  Most of the roof’s supporting beams and some stone walls have deteriorated. The Hebrew scripture is unmistakably visible on the interior walls—square, precisely carved, unobtrusive and definitively Hebrew.  All at risk to be forever lost except for this one man on a mission to rebuild. 

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Chaldean Family in Michigan Harrassed by Their Homeowner Association for Having Virgin Mary Statue
By Huda Metti :: 118858 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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Chaldean Volunteers Sought for Refugee Assistance
By Huda Metti :: 149917 Views :: Article Rating :: Living & Lifestyle, Career & Education, Community & Culture, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - Sister Beth Murphy, the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator of the Refugee Services Office in the Archdiocese of Detroit is looking for two dedicated volunteers who can assist their staff with the important task of helping Iraqi refugees adjust to life in the United States.

Chaldeans are invited to this uplifting and rewarding opportunity of sharing their gift time and talent for the benefit of the hundreds of refugees who are arriving in the Detroit Metro Area.  The Office of Refugee Services has already resettled more than 700 refugees this year, improving the quality of life for many Chaldeans.  The office anticipates another 200 refugees by the end of this year. 

The Archdiocese of Detroit is looking for fluent speakers in English and an office assistant to help with clerical work.  Both positions require less than a few hours a week. 

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Mazyn Barash Attacked by SMART Bus for Defending his Civil Rights
By Ann Bahri :: 124492 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - “I guess this whole situation is like the Rosa Parks for Chaldeans.  One Chaldean man stands up against a big bus company who refuses to treat him fairly,” e-mails Jennifer Sitto.

Back in early January of 2008, www.CHALDEAN.org last reported on the ongoing harassment, abuse, and discrimination suffered by Mazyn Barash at the hands of SMART employees and management for being Chaldean. The article titled, “And Justice for All - Mazyn Barash Fights Back Discrimination and Harassment by SMART Bus Employees.

For months the Michigan civil rights commission held preliminary investigations to determine the nature of the abuse and has concluded that SMART did in fact discriminate, harass, and abuse Mr. Barash.  Michigan’s civil rights commission has now filed formal charges against SMART. 

For the Barash family, the harassment is far from over.  Friends of Mazyn at SMART have also become the target of a vindictive management who has already fired those who defended Mazyn while he was being harassed and threatened. 

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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.