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Chaldean Family in Michigan Harrassed by Their Homeowner Association for Having Virgin Mary Statue
By Huda Metti :: Friday, March 20, 2009 :: 66987 Views :: 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. 

The homeowners association and their management company have not returned calls explaining their position and motive regarding this issue.  The association uses Professional Association Management, inc (248-374-9375) to do their dirty work says Abdel.  “If any other homeowner association uses this company they should fire them immediately.  This is a company that does not know how to manage and keep their customers, the homeowners, safe and comfortable.  This company and the bigoted board are the ones that make Christian homeowners feel unsafe and unwelcome.

The Samona family vow to fight the threatening letter with a lawsuit.  They have hired attorney Lawerence Lieb to defend their constitutional rights.   Major media outlets have also covered the story throughout metro-Detroit receiving hundreds of calls and comments encouraging the family to continue the fight.  

“There are seven houses that they have statues on their street.  None of them have received letters asking them to remove their statues. Something is not right with the board people on Tolgate Woods.  They seem to hate Christians.  In my opinion this is a hate crime,” says Abdel.

Doug Koester, president of the association, refuses to say why the letter was sent and the motive behind the threatening letter.   The Samona family has contacted Novi police department and asking them to be on alert should trespassers harm their property. 

In an e-mail interview, Jospeh Samona, the son of the family that is helping to spearhead the defense effort writes, “This is a mater that we take very seriously and will not back down from. This is our faith. I am not trying to make anyone believe my faith all that matters is I know my faith and I know I love the Virgin Mary.  All this has done is make my family stronger.”

The passionate family is taking the threat very seriously and tired of the continual harassment of their faith by the association.  Joseph adds, “Anyone wishing to harass us in this matter is not welcomed on our property. I have contacted the Novi police and have let them know that anyone who comes on our property as a form of harassment will have criminal charges against them for trespassing. This is no joke.”

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.