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Entries for 'Sam Yousif'

Chaldean Leaders around the World Gather in California
By Sam Yousif :: 31136 Views :: Government & Society, Chaldean American Professionals

Californai, USA - Chaldean leaders from around the world recently met in Rancho San Diego, California to discuss the ongoing challenges the Christians of Iraq continue to face.  Frustrated over the lack of support and reluctance to support Christians of the Middle East, the representatives gathered to discuss options.  Chaldean leaders from as far as Australia, Canada, UK, Syria, Jordon, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Mexico, Norway, and the US made up over 15 countries of delegates.  A historic gathering they called it. The first of its kind -- at least in modern memory, they said.

More than 300 people attended the local conference, which took place March 30 and April 1.  Including Ambassador Peter Bodde, assistant chief with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, spoke at the conference.  Bodde told the group that the U.S. government is working to safeguard Chaldeans and other minority communities in Iraq. A U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state also attended, telling the group that the Obama administration has requested funds from Congress to promote the safety of Christians in Iraq.

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Slayed Chaldean Mourned
By Sam Yousif :: 28774 Views :: 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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Chaldean Hot Spots Get Too Hot
By Sam Yousif :: 33620 Views :: Community & Culture, Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean community in Michigan were stunned to learn two of their favorite shopping locations went up in flames yesterday afternoon.  Both Kashat International Market and New Sahara Restaurant were completely destroyed by fire. 

Firefighters from Oak Park, Ferndale, and Beverly Hills spent all day Wednesday trying to get  the five alarm fire under control.  Early reports indicate the fire started in an international market and spread to the New Sahara Restaurant next door.

Both businesses have been in the community for decades.  “Almost every Chaldean family has eaten or shopped at those places,” says Alex Jabarow of Novi.  “Sahara would often stay open until two or four in the morning as Chaldeans would close their business and visit for a late night meal.  Those places have lots of history and meant a lot to many Chaldeans.  Especially those who fell in love with their house sauce.”

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Iraqi Minority Remain Targets Despite Government Claims of Safety
By Sam Yousif :: 48105 Views :: 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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American CIA Director Goes on Sales Pitch
By Sam Yousif :: 17865 Views :: Government & Society

Michigan, USA -  “Chaldeans remain unsure about the sincerity and commitment of the current U.S. administration policies,” says Mathew Qashat, 26, of Wayne State University.  The part-time law student rejected an invitation to join other Chaldean Christians, as well as Muslim Arabs, to hear CIA Director Leon Panetta speak.  The outspoken law student has studied Middle Eastern affairs and plans on practicing international law.  Qashat is fluent in three languages and stands to be the type of candidate the U.S. would want to appeal to as a new chapter in Middle Eastern diplomacy is being built. 

“To me, it is a dog and pony show.  What this administration needs to make clear is that they can be trusted.  With each new administration we have promises being broken and backs being stabbed.  Obama’s administration needs to show real tangible support, both in America and abroad in areas of security, economic recovery, and accountability.” 

Panetta visited Dearborn in an effort to boost CIA recruitment efforts in Arab and Muslim communities, where the agency hopes to attract more applicants with Middle Eastern language and cultural expertise.

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Chaldean Dearborn Michigan Resident Freedom Stripped
By Sam Yousif :: 41750 Views :: 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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Is Defending Marriage About Defending Religious Freedoms?
By Sam Yousif :: 39439 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

California, USA – Perhaps the older Chaldeans have trouble grasping the threats we face, but the first and second generation Chaldeans know it all too well, says Ann Bodagh.  The Californian community activist says that America’s immune system is under attack.  “American values are our country’s immune system.  Values that teach us that lying, stealing, killing, and adultery are wrong are being torn apart.  Now it is okay to routinely lie, steal worker’s pensions, kill the unborn or elderly, or sleep with anyone.  These sorts of behavior are bankrupting America, financially, morally, and socially.”

Bodagh says you can see the social virus make its way to our countries value centers.  “They have already taken over our public schools and now they want to close churches and silence religious teachers.  America is becoming a socialist communist nation if we don’t fight back.  All the Chaldeans that fled from countries that would not let you speak out when the government is doing something wrong better wise up.  Otherwise you might as well by another plane ticket and choose your next country to run to.”

Bodagh says California is fighting back.  The citizens of the golden state recently voted to cut spending and become more fiscally conservative.  Citizens also voted to amend the state constitution to protect marriage between a man and a woman.  “California has long been considered the land of fruits and nuts sees the writing on the wall.  We are trying to clean-up the moral pollution.  Unfortunately, the pollution is also growing in other states.”

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Chaldean Final Four Set for Showdown in Royal Oak Michigan
By Sam Yousif :: 87837 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Chaldean Church Sports League, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean Church Sports League (CCSL) has reached the playoff point.  Five divisions of the Chaldean community's top basketball players compete in a final four showdown for a bid at the championship game.  Games begin at 2 o’clock in the afternoon at the Boys and Girls club of Southeast Oakland County in Royal Oak.

The CCSL proves to be one of the Chaldean community’s hottest leagues showcasing top talent from ages 10 – 18 in basketball.  The heat is on in the CCSL in all divisions as last year’s returning coaches hope to repeat.  However, new rookie coaches in the league are proving to be a bit to handle. 

The CCSL final four will be played this Sunday at the Boys and Girls Club of South Oakland County.  CCSL organizers invite the entire community to join their family, friends, and fans as they cheer their players on to the championship games. 

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The Slaughter After The Pull-Out in Vietnam War May Happen To Iraqi Christians
By Sam Yousif :: 31349 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ – What many Chaldeans have feared in the U.S. Presidential debate has come true.  “We know if America leaves they will come and kill us.  They think we have something to do with them and they think we have money.  The Iraqi government is happy if all Christians leave.  They say they want us to stay, but they don’t mean it.  If they mean it, then they would protect us more,” says Masoud Gallozi. 

In the past few days Iraq Christians have been targeted for slaughter.  The murder of four Christians across Iraq in just two days is raising concern among churches there that another round of religious cleansing has begun. 

Chaldean Monsignor Sako warns that US troop pullout is likely to plunge the country in a “civil war.” Between 31 March and 4 April five Christians are murdered in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Mosul. The prelate calls on the faithful to pray during Holy Week so “that the blood of our martyrs may restore peace.”

Chaldeans in America are frustrated over President Obama’s handling of the Middle East issues.  “There were many Chaldeans fooled into believing the new administration would pressure the Iraqi government to get serious about properly protecting Chaldeans.  These Chaldeans sent an e-mail of a letter by Obama and his people showing he was concerned.  It was just another lie from this man.  A lie that is leaving our people vulnerable.  Those who supported him are partly to blame,” a frustrated James Selmu declares. 

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California Chaldean Store Owners Are Feeling Safer
By Sam Yousif :: 38109 Views :: 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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Chaldean Cashes in on Obama Inaugural Frenzy
By Sam Yousif :: 18795 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

Washington DC, USA – Chaldean businessman Andy Shallal looks to capture and convert that energy into capital.  Not the type of energy that turns on your lights or moves your car.  The energy of millions of people pouring into the Washington DC to participate in Obama’s Inauguration is prime for celebration and prime for businesses. 

Although Andy Shallal, a native of Virginia has never been to an inaugural ball he sure plans to make the best of this one.  Shallal owns a number of restaurants around the DC area and is known in private circles as a peace proponent. 

So in celebrating the excitement and capturing the energy of the crowds, Shallal is hosting is own star-studded inaugural ball that just might capture the new president’s attention. 

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Chaldean Christmas Party for Refugees Offers Hope and Peace
By Sam Yousif :: 52921 Views :: Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean Catholic Diocese of the United States of America held a Christmas party for Chaldeans in Michigan.  For many, this was their first Christmas celebration in safety since the war began. 

More than 1,200 guests gathered in the prestigious Bella Hall on Sunday.  All hoping to bring peace to so many who still worry about their loved ones caught in the turmoil and persecution of Iraqi Christians.  Others silently cried as they reflected on the situations of their loved ones trapped in foreign countries as refugees. 

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Author Releases New Fictional Book on the Plight of A Chaldean Family
By Sam Yousif :: 19449 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

Michigan, USA – Publisher, author, and journalist Donna Gundle-Krieg releases “From Desert to Detroit.”  The book is an award winning educational story about a young Detroit Chaldean named Nadia Sefro and her family leaving a country in turmoil to a country of dreams.  However, the Sefro family find themselves facing a new set of challenges in Detroit. 

This story takes place during the time of the 911 disaster from the point of view of the child Nadia.  The book is filled with interesting characters of all ages.  The book is recommended for ages 8 to adult, with particular appeal for those in 3rd through 6th grade, and contains valuable social studies lessons.

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Refugee Workshops Help Chaldean Families Learn About the U.S.
By Sam Yousif :: 70290 Views :: Living & Lifestyle, Career & Education, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches



M
ichigan, USA – St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy, Michigan continues to host an array of services for refugee assistance.  Along with English classes, school tutoring for children, and family support services the church campus will now feature special workshops geared to refugee families.  

“The love and help for us at St. Jospeh and all the churches, makes me thank God every second,” says Habiba Yousip through a translator.  “If it was not for our Church we would all be dead.”

The workshops provide informative sessions to help refugee arrivals transition to life in the United States.  Sessions include knowing your neighbor, taxes and financial planning, keeping your children safe, apartment living, senior housing, food safety, and disaster preparedness.

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Chaldeans Overwhelmingly Plan to Vote YES on California Prop. 4 & 8 and NO on Michigan 1 & 2
By Sam Yousif :: 30090 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

California, USA – Chaldeans in California and Michigan are eager to vote on their state ballot initiatives.  In California an effort to prohibit or allow homosexual marriage is on the ballot as proposition 8. In Michigan, the statewide ballot is asking voters to either allow or reject the use of marijuana (proposal1) and embryo research (proposal 2). 

“Chaldeans in California and Michigan should understand that all three of these issues are very important.  The cost to Chaldeans and America is very high if gay marriage is allowed, embryos are killed for research, or drugs are made legal,” says Ann Bodagh, of El Cajon.  “Chaldeans need to work together to prevent America from slipping even further.”

Bodagh’s opinion is the majority, but liberal corporations, like Apple computers and Levi Straus jeans are throwing big money to help fund the passing of proposition 8.  In Michigan, drug companies, the DNC, and Planned Parenthood are hoping marijuana use and embryo research get passed. 

We examine all three propositions.

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