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Entries for September 2006

Can We Talk? Hosni Mubarak should call Benedict XVI
By Guest Reporter :: 17 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Guest reporter DANIEL HENNINGER of the Wall Street Journal reports:

Who says the world lacks leaders? After again expressing his "respect" for Islam, Pope Benedict XVI at his weekly Vatican audience two days ago moved one of his knights forward on the global chessboard of Islamic politics.

Amid amped-up security in St. Peter's Square, the pope said: "I trust that after the initial reaction, my words at the University of Regensburg can constitute an impulse and encouragement toward positive, even self-critical dialogue both among religions and between modern reason and Christian faith."

Setting aside the impeccable understatement of "the initial reaction"--churches torched world-wide--it is close to thrilling in a world of persistent confusion about the intentions of contemporary Islam to see the pope step forward, not back, and speak without apology on behalf of "modern reason."

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Freedom of Expression in Turkey Spared This Time
By Rita Abro :: 10 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A Turkish court has acquitted a prize-winning author of charges of insulting the nation in a book about the massacres of Armenians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans during World War I, saving the government from a fresh embarrassment in its bid to join the European Union.

 The acquittal of Elif Shafak came in the opening hearing of her trial Thursday, held in a cramped courtroom in central Istanbul under tight security in case of violence by nationalist protestors.

The judges based their decision on a lack of evidence to prove that Shafak, 35, "denigrated the Turkish national identity" in remarks by fictional Armenian characters in her best-selling novel "The Bastard of Istanbul" or "Baba ve Pic" (The Father and the Bastard) in Turkish.

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Chaldean Leaders Call For Calm and Reason
By Rita Abro :: 15 Views :: Article Rating :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA  -- "Poor uneducated Muslims are led blindly into ongoing violence and outrage is coached by irresponsible leaders," says Bashar Sitto.  “Moderate and modern Muslims seem to have lost control to the radical fundamentalists who have hijacked Islam.” 

For the oppressed minority Christians in the Muslim dominated governments, like the Chaldeans of Iraq, fear runs high as they remain vulnerable to potential acts of violence of fanatical Muslims stirred to act with hatred.

Supported by irresponsible media bent on sensationalizing the news and highlighting a Muslim-Christian divide even where one does not exist, only contribute to the grave state of sectarian relations in Iraq today.

The world remains stunned at the easy manipulation and hypersensitivity of Muslims, who refuse to accept the Pope’s academic discussion and focus on a quote taken out of context.  Iraqi religious scholar Abdel Hussam Hussain feels the Islamic governments are at risk as more fanatical elements gain control of interpreting Islam.  Hussain feels the threat of an eventual overthrow of current Islamic are in grave danger.

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Abductions of Iraqi Christians Hit Close to Home
By Rita Abro :: 21 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Guest reporter Kelly Thornton of the Union-Tribune reports:

 

California, USA -- B.E. was hoping for a call about a house-painting job. Instead, the Iraqi immigrant living in El Cajon heard his sister's voice, with terrible news from Baghdad.

A family member had been abducted by masked gunmen demanding a $30,000 ransom.

Kidnapping is nothing new in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, but lately there's a new twist: Some of the targets are Iraqi Christians likely to have family members in the United States or Europe who can pay to save them.

B.E. – who insists on anonymity because of concern for his family – began frantically seeking help from relatives and friends in El Cajon. Family members in Chicago, Detroit and Europe did the same

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Iraqi Ambassador Meets With Chaldean Community Leaders in the U.S.
By Sam Yousif :: 12 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA -- Iraq's U.S. Ambassador Meets With U.S. Chaldean Community Leaders

Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S. is meeting with Chaldeans and other Iraqi-Americans in metro Detroit, urging them to support U.S. efforts in Iraq.

"It's important to persuade the American public and American government not to abandon Iraq at this stage," Ambassador Samir Sumadaie said in an interview Friday at the Westin Hotel in Southfield. "Abandoning it would turn it into a failed state and create a huge amount of terrorism and destruction in Iraq."

Sumadaie, a Sunni Muslim, met with Chaldeans, Iraqi Catholics, at a church in Southfield on Friday, and is expected to meet with Iraqi Shiite Muslims in Dearborn on Saturday.

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Chaldean Priest Kidnapped in Baghdad Released
By Rita Abro :: 25 Views :: Article Rating :: Law & Order, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, Iraq – Sources close to www.CHALDEAN.org have confirmed the release of a Chaldean priest Fr. Saad Sirop.    The priest was kidnapped nearly a month ago.  The Chaldean Patriarch had held recent meetings with the president of Iraq.  Rome had also sent numerous appeals to Iraq requesting increased efforts to free the priest.  

Fr Saad Hanna Sirop, 34 years, was kidnapped by a gang of criminals shortly after Vespers Mass on 15 August. The young priest, ordained in Rome in 2001, is in charge of the theological department of Babel College, the country’s only university of Christian religious studies, in Baghdad.

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Destruction of Iraqi Antiquities Draws International Concern
By Rita Abro :: 9 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Iraq, Baghdad  — There is mounting international concern among historical and antiquity scholars that Iraq ministers may try to change their history.  The “cradle of civilization” has been a fountain of information to the world, divulging archaeological secrets going as far back as ten thousand years. 

Scholars are worried that the appointment of religiously conservative Shiite Muslims throughout Iraq’s traditionally secular archaeological institutions will threaten the preservation of the country’s pre-Islamic history.

Sumerian, Akkadian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Babylonian, Parthian, Sassanian and a lineage of other civilizations are at threat to be lost forever. Ongoing looting, and what some fear to be intended efforts to remove pre-Islamic history, continues at archaeological sites throughout Iraq.

Dr. Donny George’s recent departure as chairman of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, and his flight to Syria with his family, is among the latest results of a transformation that began in December when a Shiite-dominated government was elected in Baghdad.

Indicative of the Taliban regime destroying historic antiquities in Afghanistan many scholars fear that Iraqi fundamentalist Islamists plan to do the same. “They are bringing their family and their tribes and giving them high jobs.  They are not qualified.  They are not trained or believe in what they do or what is right for Iraqi history,” says Selwa Marpouls, a Chaldean archeologist who has worked for the former ministry. “This is very bad.  Iraqi history will be changed forever if something is not done.”

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Chaldean Patriarch and Iraqi President Meet
By Rita Abro :: 13 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, Iraq - “The Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, welcomed Patriarch Emanuel Delly III and Bishop Afock Asardoryan on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 to discuss the recent kidnapping of Fr. Saad Sirop. 

Efforts by the Chaldean eparchy have been tireless in lobbying the Iraqi government to provide protection to the Christian minorities in Iraq.  The recent kidnapping of Fr. Saad has only underscored the contestant threat and vulnerability the native inhabitants of Iraq continue to face. 

Fr. Saad Sirop, a Catholic priest at St. Jacob in Dora, Baghdad was kidnapped, tortured, and is being held for ransom. 

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Pregnant Author Called to Stand Trial for Offending Turkishness
By Rita Abro :: 7 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Armenians have long called for Turkey to accept responsibility for the slaughter of minorities.  Unprotected and left ravaged by the Turks over a million were murdered. 

Turkey has stubbornly refused to participate in any investigation or address concerns by the European Union regarding the genocide.  Turkey, a Western ally and NATO member has long moved counter to inherent democratic principals.  Now Turkey has turned to trample on the inherent freedoms of expression by putting on trial one of Turkey’s leading authors who boldly calls for the Turkish government to reveal the truth. 

Elif Shafak, one of Turkey's leading authors, is about to have a baby — and go on trial.  The reason for this strange conjunction of joy and foreboding is her new novel, which has exposed her to a charge of "insulting Turkishness" because it touches on one of the most disputed episodes of her country's history — the massacres of Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Armenians during the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

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Chaldeans Applaud Euro MPs New Turkey Demands
By Rita Abro :: 7 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

London, UK - “Would Europe allow a country to join the union if it stubbornly denies the facts of a Jewish Holocaust,” says Suhala Yohannan, a Chaldean activist fighting to educate Europe of the atrocities and danger of Turkey’s denial.  “For healing to take place, for the sake of understanding, the EU must reject Turkey’s bid if they continue to hide and deceive.  They refuse to be true partners and embrace core democratic principals.” 

Turkey continues to snub Europe and their calls for reform.  European MPs have criticized Turkey's slow pace of reform and said it should recognize the massacre of Armenians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans in 1915 as genocide before joining the EU.

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Head of U.S. Chaldean group presses government, U.N. on Iraqi exiles
By Guest Reporter :: 15 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Guest Reporter Mark Pattison of the Catholic News Service (CNS) reports:

Virgina, USA -  Joseph Kassab, head of the Chaldean Federation of America, met Aug. 25 for the sixth time this year with officials from the State Department to press the case to allow Chaldeans -- Iraqi Christians -- fleeing their homeland to emigrate to the United States.

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Chaldean Priest Remains Missing, Community Leaders Fear the Worse
By Sam Yousif :: 22 Views :: Article Rating :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, Iraq – Chaldeans around the world remained stunned at the escalating violence in Iraq and the boldness of kidnappers to take hostage Chaldean priest, Rev. Hanna Saad Sirop.  Christians continue to remain targets as Muslim groups hope to drive the minority population out of the region.  

The Rev. Hanna Saad Sirop, who is director of the Theology Department at Babel College, was abducted Aug. 15 as he left Mass celebrating the Assumption holiday.

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