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Iraqi Prime Minister Vows to Defend All Iraqis No Matter What Faith
By Neda Ayar :: Saturday, October 27, 2007 :: 35651 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Iraq's prime minister pledged Saturday to protect and support the Christian minority that has been fleeing the chaos and sectarian violence in the country. 

The Christian community here, about 3 percent of the country's 26 million people, is particularly vulnerable, and has little political or military clout to defend itself. 

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi Christians, who are mostly Chaldean Catholics, have been targeted by Islamic extremists who label them "crusaders" loyal to U.S. troops.

Churches, priests and business owned by Christians have been attacked by Islamic militants.

Seeking better and safer life, over 50 percent of Iraq's Christians are thought to have left the country, according to a report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the White House and Congress.

After receiving the Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel III Delly, Nuri al-Maliki affirmed his government's readiness and determination to defend the small community.  He also vowed to stop the outflow of Iraqi Christians, according to a statement released by al-Maliki's office.

Delly, who is the head of Chaldean Church in Iraq and spiritual leader to all Chaldeans, has been outspoken about the need to protect minority Christians from Iraq's spiraling violence.

Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Delly a cardinal, when he named 23 new "princes" of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sacred Heart Parish, MI USA

 

Sacred Heart Parish
310 W. Seven Mile. Rd.
Detroit, MI 48203
Tel: (313) 368-6214
Fax: (313) 891-0132

The parish was established by Rev. Jacob Yasso in 1973

Rev. Jacob Yasso

Rev. Jacob Yasso was born in the village of Telkaif, Iraq.  After completing high school he was recruited to Rome and Urbaniana University where he completed his Masters Degree in philosophy and Theology.  Fr. Yasso was ordained a priest in 1960 and served the Diocese of Mosul, where he worked in the public school system. Fr. Yasso was also asked by the Patriarch to teach at the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad, where he served as administrator, professor of philosophy and religious life, and rector of the minor seminary. 

In 1964, Fr. Yasso was appointed to the United States to serve the growing Chaldean community in Detroit.  There he served as the 4th Pastor of Mother of God Parish.  .  In 1972, the Patriarch charged Fr. Yasso with building a new parish for the Chaldeans in Detroit.  In taking great pains to care for the community Fr. Yasso accelerated the development of a new church and community center.  In 1975, Fr. Yasso completed the development of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit and shortly thereafter he added the Chaldean Center of America in 1980, 

A few years later in 1982, Fr. Yasso was asked to assist the late Fr. Kattoula at St. Peter’s Church in San Diego, CA.  Before long, Fr. Yasso was once again recruited to Rome to study new Canon Law of the Church.  While in Rome Fr. Yasso completed his third Masters Degree in Church Law, making him the only Chaldean priest trained in Canon Law. 

In 1988, the Patriarch and Vatican authorities asked Fr. Yasso to travel to Canada and establish a parish and community center.  While there he served as a Tribunal Judge for the Archdiocese of Toronto.  Four years later Fr. Yasso returned to Sacred Heart church in Detroit to help care for the remaining Chaldean community residence in the Detroit area.  To this day, Fr. Yasso continues to serve as the parish pastor creating activities and advising the City of Detroit on community related matters. 

Fr. Yasso is a member of the International WYCLIF Bible translators, since 1975, and has completed the translation of the New Testament from Greek and Aramaic into Arabic and spoken Chaldean.   The publication of his scholarly work is set to be released soon.