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Government & Society

Chaldean Patriarch calls for tolerance
By Ziad Bitti :: 40950 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society

Baghdad, Iraq - In an exclusive interview the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Emmanuel III Delly called Iraqis to be tolerant and full of love as he considered that the main reason behind youth emigration is the dramatic security situation. Delly underlined his rejection to any foreign interference in Iraqi internal affairs.

He invited the government to improve the citizens’ situation as he pleaded all clerics taking part in Mecca conference to spread the message of love in their parishes. Patriarch Delly was paying a visit to his parish in Lebanon after a brief stay in Vatican where he met Pope Benedict XVI.

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Iraq’s Christians Flee as Extremist Threat Worsens
By Guest Reporter :: 26 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

www.CHALDEAN.org in conjunction with the American New York Times bring you a nationally acclaimed article on the plight of Iraqi Chrisitans.  Special thanks goes to Mr. Wisam H. Habeeb and Khalid al-Ansary, Iraqi employees for The New York Times who helped encourage the story be told and were pinnacle in bringing a deeper understanding and meaning to the challenges Christians in Iraq face. 

From Brenda S. to Michael L., I owe you one Mike – thanks for the professional courtesy. 

Guest Reporter Michael Lou of the New York Times (New York, USA) reports:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 16 — The blackened shells of five cars still sit in front of the Church of the Virgin Mary here, stark reminders of a bomb blast that killed two people after a recent Sunday Mass.

In the northern city of Mosul, a priest from the Syriac Orthodox Church was kidnapped last week. His church complied with his captors’ demands and put up posters denouncing recent comments made by the pope about Islam, but he was killed anyway. The police found his beheaded body on Wednesday.

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Some 500 People Attend Funeral of Beheaded Iraqi Priest
By Rita Abro :: 73 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society
 Baghdad, Iraq -Relatives confirm that US$ 350,000 ransom was demanded. Sunni Ulema Council condemns the killing: “a cowardly murder [. . .] committed by people who want [. . .] to start a religious war”. 
 
Some 500 people attended yesterday the funeral of Fr Paulos Eskandar at Mosul’s St Ephrem Church. Father Eskandar, who was abducted on Monday, was founded beheaded some time later.
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Chaldean Californians Concerned Over Car Pool Fees
By Rita Abro :: 12 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

California, USA – A frequent road traveled by Chaldeans in California may see their cost of living and doing business take on another increase.  A transportation policy committee endorsed a plan to raise minimum fees that solo commuters pay to use the Interstate 15 car pool lanes in off-peak hours. 

Thomas Sitto is upset over the principle and not necessarily the fee.  “I don’t mind having to pay for using the road, of all fees and taxes, I love the pay-to-use type taxes, but the reason for this tax is what upsets me.  Government mismanagement is the cause and we have to pay for it.  Their ineffectiveness is what created a deficit.  Their solution is to make us, the people pay for their mistakes.  In the real world, businesses have to learn to be leaner and provide better services and find creative ways to do more with less.  With government it is just the opposite; their incompetence is rewarded by raising fees, taxes, and tolls.  That is not right.  Any official who votes for an increase in any tax or fee triggered by their incompetence should be tossed out on their rear.”

Interstate 15 serves as one of the major thoroughbass for many Chaldean travelers.  The minimum rate for using the express lanes would rise from 50 cents to $1.25 under the proposal, a 150% increase.  FasTrak users will also experience a huge jump in fees.

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Terror Campaign Targets Chaldean church in Iraq
By Rita Abro :: 20 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society

Mosul, Iraq – There were two new attacks against the parish of the Holy Spirit in Mosul in as many days. A convent of Dominican Sisters has also been struck. These are the most blatant signs of a campaign that aims to throw Christians out of Iraq. Then there is the problem of emigration, a problem afflicting also Shiites and Sunnis.
 
The Chaldean church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul appears to have become the target of a terror campaign. After attacks that took place at the end of September, a group of men opened fire on the place of worship on 4 and 5 October, injuring one of the guards who is currently in hospital.

The violence and continual attack on Christians have been ongoing.  The parish of the Holy Spirit has been attacked since August 2004. As many Iraqi church figures have already claimed, the attacks are part of a twofold strategy.

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Bushra Butres Runs For Cajon Valley School Board
By Ziad Bitti :: 57500 Views :: Career & Education, Government & Society

California, USA – Chaldean Bushra Butres challenges the old guard of the Cajon Valley school board, which oversees a district of 28 elementary and middle schools in the inner city and more rural neighborhoods. 

Incumbents Marsha L. Saben, Jill D. Barto and Jane Cruz Alfano are being challenged by  Bushra “Nissou” Butres in the Nov. 7 election.

The Cajon Valley districty has a large population of Chaldeans and Assyrians but is poorly represented in school policy or understanding.  Many in the community have long sought a qualified candidate to bring a unique perspective of the challenges new citizens in the Cajon Valley schools face.  Many in the Chaldean community feel Butres is the right person for the job. 

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Pope and Chaldean Patriarch Meet
By Ziad Bitti :: 24 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Castelgandolofo, Italy - Pope Benedict said on Sunday he hoped Iraq's Christian minority could continue to live in peace with the Muslim majority in a country where people of both religions faced tragedy on a daily basis.

The Pontiff, who has been trying to patch up relations with Muslims after a controversial speech last month, said Iraq had traditionally been a place of harmony between Muslims and Christians.

Benedict said the leader of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church visited him on Friday and told him of the "tragic reality faced every day by the dear population of Iraq where Christians and Muslims have lived together for 14 centuries as children of the same land.

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American House of Representatives Passes Measure on Religion Suits
By Ziad Bitti :: 18519 Views :: Government & Society

Califoria, USA -- Chaldean attorney, Kevin Najor reports that the House passed a bill yesterday that would bar judges from awarding legal fees to the American Civil Liberties Union and similar groups that sue municipalities for violating the Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion.

“Many of these organizations are simply trying to intimidate and use activist judges as a way to raise money for their personal causes.  Many attorneys are outraged at groups like the ACLU and other similar organizations that have become the strong arm of reckless causes.”

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More Attacks Against Chaldean Churches in Iraq
By Ziad Bitti :: 22 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society

Mosul, Iraq –  Attackers launch rockets against the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit. No one is injured. The group that targeted the church is likely the same that fired shots at the building last Sunday.

Once again the Catholic Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit is the target. This morning a group of men fired rockets against the building, whilst an explosive devise was detonated outside a usually unused entrance door, this according to local sources who also told AsiaNews that no one was killed or hurt in the incident. They also suggested that the attackers might be the same people who on Sunday fired some 80 shots against the church breaking some windows and causing minor damage.

For months, tensions have been rising in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold. Some people have suggested that the anti-Christian attacks are linked to the controversy caused by the Pope’s speech in Regensburg (Germany). In fact, some flyers making anti-Christian threats were distributed around town last Friday, calling on Christians to condemn the Pope’s remarks or be killed and see their churches burnt down.

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Radical Muslims Prove the Pope’s comments by Attacking Chaldean Churches
By Rita Abro :: 17 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Order, Government & Society
Baghadad, Iraq -- A Chaldean and Assyrian churche is attacked in Mosul and Baghdad by Muslim militias.  The fanatics have forced Christians to pin up posters condemning the words of Benedict XVI in Regensburg. But religious leaders, including al Sistani, have expressed their friendship with the Apostolic Nunciature. And the representative of the Iraqi Shiite leader would like to meet the pope.
 
The start of the month of Ramadan in Iraq was marked by violence but also by significant openness by al Sistani towards the Vatican. Yesterday, two churches, one in Baghdad and another in Mosul, were struck. Recently, the country has seen an escalation of attacks against Christians, thought by some to be the reaction of radical Muslims to the speech of the pope in Regensburg. However, religious leaders, among them al Sistani, have shown solidarity and understanding towards the Vatican. Moreover, the representative of the highest religious exponent of Iraqi Shiites has expressed the desire to be able to visit the Pope.
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Can We Talk? Hosni Mubarak should call Benedict XVI
By Guest Reporter :: 17 Views :: 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 :: 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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English: the Official Language of Hazel Park, Michigan
By Guest Reporter :: 13 Views :: Government & Society

Guest repoter Jeremy Adragna of CG News reports:

Michigan, USA — When Mark Samano moved to the United States from Iraq in 1980, he dedicated himself to learning 10 words in English every day. Within three months, he could speak the English language. Within six months, he was teaching math classes in English for Detroit Public Schools.

Samano heads the Hazel Park School District’s foreign language classes now, and said that every immigrant should take the time to learn English if they want to be an American.

“When we come to this country we have to master English,” said Samano. “If we don’t, forget it. You’re living in a Third World country.”

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Professor, Lawyer, and Author Gabriel Sawma Sets the Record Straight
By Gabriel Sawma :: 14 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials

Renown professor, lawyer, and author Gabriel Sawma who specializes in international law, mainly the European Union Law, the Middle East and Islamic Shari’a Laws offers insight in the current affairs of Muslims outraged over the Popes Comments.

Professor of Aramaic and a recognized authority on Islam.  Sawma is the author of a book titled, “The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread. The Aramaic Language of the Qur’an”, available on amazon.com.  He has also authored many articles on the Aramaic influence in Biblical Hebrew and in the Quran.  Sawma speaks, reads, and writes Aramaic, Arabic, and Hebrew.

In a meeting with representatives of science in Germany on September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a short segment of a dialog between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian.

As a result, segments of Muslim community around the world demonstrated and demanded an apology from the pontiff. They argue that Islam did not use the sword to convert people. They also stated that Islam is a “peaceful religion”.  Some demanded that the pope be executed.

This article gives background about the Islamic conquest of the Middle East and parts of Europe.

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Chaldean Leaders Call For Calm and Reason
By Rita Abro :: 15 Views :: 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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