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Government & Society

Controversy over Coptic Priest and Muslims in Michigan Sparks Freedom of Speech Issues
By Amer Hedow :: 30392 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Michigan, USA - Refusing to submit, Egyptian Coptic Father Zakaria Botros tells listeners he will,” stop revealing the truth about Islam when my ten demands are met.”  The Coptic Priest is named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid.  He has famously made of Islam “ten demands” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

The internationally renowned Coptic priest along with Muslim converts minces no words when addressing controversial topics of theological significance and touches on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition.  With rewards for his murder the priest fearlessly continues.  He has become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East and now in the United States. 

Tensions in Dearborn, Michigan rise as Fr. Botros continues to challenge Islamic teachings.  Dearborn’s Arab American newspaper reports that local Imams have been fuming over the Coptic priest’s ongoing revelations of Islam. Fearing anger will turn to violence; Deaborn’s Imams have called on Birach Broadcast owner demanding changes be made.  The Imams have also appealed to Chaldean and other Middle Eastern Christian leaders requesting interfaith efforts to create the change they seek. 

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Electronic Disposal Group Free e-waste Rcycling Eent This Weekend in El Cajon
By Neda Ayar :: 39250 Views :: Health & Fitness, Business & Finance, Government & Society

California, USA  – The event is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the southwest parking lot of the El Cajon Wal-Mart, 605 Fletcher Parkway.

The event is free and open to all county residents. E-waste includes old computers, TVs, stereo equipment, phones and other items that can't be thrown in the trash.  Household appliances and batteries will not be accepted.

Also on Saturday at the El Cajon Wal-Mart, San Diego Gas & Electric is partnering with Electronic Disposal Group for a light bulb exchange.

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Chaldeans Can Help Pass Senate Bill S. 223 — Cast Light Onto Darkness
By Chaldean Caucus :: 26867 Views :: Government & Society, Chaldean Caucus

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill -- S. 223 -- that would require senators to disclose their campaign contributions electronically, just like the House and presidential candidates have been doing for years. The Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation and other transparency advocates have been pushing hard to get this bill passed this session, and they now have more than 40 co-sponsors of the bill.

The Chaldean Caucus needs your help to get it passed into law.  Chaldean readers need to make two quick phone calls to your senators. Our pro-transparency coalition has set up http://Pass223.com so you can easily make the calls and report back what you hear. 

Go to http://Pass223.com to urge the Senate to pass this bill without any amendments. The site leads you through simple steps on how to do it, and it even includes a suggested script. Then you can report back and let everyone know how the call went.

Here's some more information on the bill:

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Chaldeans Consider The Impact of Detroit's Jailed Mayor
By Ray Yono :: 37444 Views :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

Michigan, USA – Detroit’s government tail spin has the entire nation talking about the once great city.  Residents and business owners are commenting that Detroit’s legacy of automobile and manufacturing innovation, entertainment, and education has crumpled to corruption, incompetence, and theft.  Detroit resident and and manager of Party City Beer and Wine in downtown Detroit, Martin Kouza says, “This City has challenges, but this can be a good chance for the city to change for the good.” 

The city’s mounting problems seem only to get worse.  Detroit’s embroiled Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to jail time.  Once again across the nation the city has come under scrutiny, costing city business owners and residents considerably. 

The state of Michigan remains a battle ground for the presidential campaign and the city’s issues is casting a very dark cloud.  Democratic Presidential candidate Barrak Obama’s campaign made it clear that the Detroit mayor was not to attend any of Obama’s events, fearing negative attention. 

 “What is wrong with the Democratic party,” says Julie Yono, a member of the Downriver Young Democrats.  “We had a president, a New York and New Jersey governor, and now the mayor of Detroit, all disgraced over their lack of respect for women and the law.  This entire party is falling apart because of sex.  This is getting way out of control; I think it is time to leave the city and the party.”

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Are Politicians Undermining Iraq Reconstruction Efforts?
By Sabah Hajjar :: 23403 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

 

Michigan, USA  –  Michigan Senator Carl Levin (D), chairman and of the Senate Armed Services Committee, requested a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding Iraq’s financial ability to fund their own reconstruction. 

The GAO made their report public yesterday prompting renewed calls from Democrats and few Republicans that Baghdad pay more of the bill for its own reconstruction.   The Iraqi government could end the year with a small budget surplus reveals the GAO report.   Iraq’s budget surplus has been building due to increased oil production, stability in the region, and the government’s unwillingness to spend money, the report continues. 

“Although America has broken it, they don’t want to buy it,” says Kevin Jammo.  “Democrats want to undermine the progress being made in the country.  They diminish the success of the surge and all the other progress taking place.  It is too soon to force Iraq to spend its meager money on a war waged against them.  This is an election year and these heartless politicians are playing games with a nation trying to stand-up.  As soon as Iraq starts to get their footing, Democrats want to foot-sweep them back to the ground.” 

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Chaldean Voters Ready for Michigan Primary Election Tuesday, August 5
By Sam Yousif :: 53816 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society, Opinion and Editorials, Chaldean Caucus

Michigan, USA - The Chaldean Caucus has sent out over 6,000 e-mails and mailed out over 2,000 letters to likely Chaldean voters reminding them that tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5 are the primary elections.  “We want to keep the Chaldean community informed and excited about local races as much as the upcoming presidential race,” says Lauren George, western district Chaldean Caucus representative. 

Politicians have come to realize the importance of winning the Chaldean vote says George.  “The community values democracy.  Coming from a country that would kill your entire family should you dare consider thinking and acting in democratic ways, we are hungry to participate.  Our community is active in campaigns, involved in running for politics, and we get out the vote.”

The largest population of Chaldeans in the United States lives in Oakland County, Michigan.  George says that political candidates in that county wisely court the Chaldean constituency knowing that Chaldeans can make all the difference. 

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Cell Phone Early Contract Termination Fees Illegal
By David Najor :: 42179 Views :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society

California, USA - For many Chaldeans, the cell phone is a life-line to the family.  “Long hours at work, family members pulled in hundreds of different directions, constantly on the run; that’s the life of a Chaldean,” says Joseph Jirjis, store manager of Shop Cellular in El Cajon California.  “We have to stay in touch with one another.  That is how we are able to help one another and make sure everyone is safe.  Even my grandmother has a cell phone.”

Chaldeans often complained about the additional fees cell phone companies would add to a plan.  “They nickel and dime a customer to death,” Jirjis adds.  “Based on the company, we have to follow their plan, and they have all sorts of fees.  Many of our customers get shocked to see all the fees.”

The termination fee in particular upset many customers.  Cellular phone companies would sell contracts to customers and if a customer terminated their contract early an additional fee was added.    However, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law.

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Chaldean Pilgrims Question Carey, Ohio Safety
By Sam Yousif :: 31307 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Faithful Chaldean pilgrims are concerned over Carey, Ohio’s Feast of the Assumption gathering at Our Lady of Consolation Shrine this year.  For years a radical evangelical group, by the name of The Street Preachers Fellowship congregate to disrupt the Assumption procession of Catholics.  One confrontation practically ended up as a riot in 2006 raising the attention of the federal government. 

“With numerous eye witness accounts of the evangelical’s group intimidating, threatening, and ruckus behavior Carey’s Chief of Police, Dennis Yingling turns a blind eye,” says attorney Bobby Kassab.  “We have spoken with the federal authorities who have hinted that the FBI might be present since the intimidation and threats can be construed as hate crimes.”

Chief Yingling is on record blaming young Chaldeans.  Fr. Hadnagy of Our Lady of Consolation Shrine is shocked at the Chief’s stance.  “Was he even there?   I find it incredible that a police chief doesn't understand that when a band of people [The Street Preachers Fellowship], who admit they want trouble, start trouble that they're not to blame," said Father Hadnagy.

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Australia Denies Visas to Iraqi Chaldean WYD Pilgrims
By Rita Abro :: 83752 Views :: Religion & Spirituality, Community & Culture, Government & Society, Chaldean Churches

The Catholic News Agency reports that the Australian government has denied visas to dozens of Chaldean World Youth Day pilgrims from Iraq.  Australian officials say they are concerned that participants will not return home and instead will seek asylum in Australia. One Chaldean Catholic priest called the decision “a slap at young people who wanted to go to witness to the faith and the joy of the church’s living in Iraq despite sufferings.”

Initially the Australian government denied visas for nearly 170 pilgrims, allowing only ten visas to aspiring World Youth Day participants, the SIR News Agency says. According to the website Baghdadhope, there are now only about 30 total visas available that will be granted “in extremis.”

Father Rayan P. Atto, parish priest of Mar Qardagh Church in Erbil, told SIR News Agency that the concerns about asylum seekers were unfounded, arguing that, “for young Christian Iraqis, taking part in the WYD in Sydney was not a way to leave their country.”

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Iraqi Christians Targeted In Order to Keep Them Oppressed
By Sabah Hajjar :: 22935 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Mosul, IRAQ – Christian churches in Iraq continue to receive threatening notices foreshadowing potentially violent attacks against the non-Muslim religious centers.  In the northern Iraqi city of Mosul parishioners fear the worst after a letters were received asking them not to cooperate with US forces. 

“We don’t cooperate with anyone.  They use this as an excuse to attack, torture, hold for ransom, and kill innocent people,” says Khalid Bunni, a parishioner in the region.  

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Iraq's Persecution of Christians Continues to Spiral out of Control
By Sabah Hajjar :: 32819 Views :: Government & Society, World News & Odds 'N' Ends

Baghdad, IRAQ - Senior research fellow, Brian J. Grim, paints a harrowing picture of the ongoing persecution of Iraqi Christians.  The research expert on religion and world affairs with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C. reports that the situation for Christians in Iraq is worsening. 

“It is no small irony, of course, that the Shiite majority that's now a leading force in Iraq was brutalized and suppressed under Saddam, who extensively curbed the Shiites' religious freedoms. A State Department report in 2002 said Saddam's government ‘severely restricts or bans outright many Shiite religious practices.’ One might think that those fresh memories would be enough to ensure liberties for Iraq's religious minorities today. Yet that appears not to be the case,” writes Grim in his report. 

Iraqi Christians are part of historic indigenous communities that have been in what is now Iraq nearly since the time of Christ, several centuries before Islam came to the region. The majority of them are Chaldean Christians, an ancient religious group affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

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Obama's Attempt to Please Everyone Backfires
By Chaldean Caucus :: 24357 Views :: Government & Society, Chaldean Caucus

Michigan, USA - Obama’s relations with Muslims were further stressed as a private back-door meeting spiraled downward over Jewish support.    Among over 150 African-American community leaders and a handful of Arab-Americans were invited to the private meeting.  An argument ensued between Obama and  Osama Siblani regarding the presidential hopeful’s public support of Israel. 

“The more people learn about him the more they feel he is like any other politician,” says Husam Abid, a Chaldean business man in Detroit, Michigan.  “I was told that the Arabs at the meeting made it clear that they want Obama to return to his roots and stand against Jews.  Others feel Obama is purposely alienating Muslims to mask his heritage and show he would not favor Islam.”

Chaldean community leaders, like Ramzi Dalloo, of Troy Michigan  are hopeful that Obama’s efforts to reach out to the two communities are reciprocated.  Nonetheless, tension between Jews and Obama grows.  A website sharing Jewish frustration titled, www.JewsAgainstObama.com is gaining national attention.  The site catalogs Obama’s anti-Jewish stance.  Danny Ayalon, Israel's former ambassador in Washington adds to the growing discourse in a published article in the Jerusalem Post.  Ayalon writes that the Democratic candidate wasn’t entirely forthright regarding Israel. 

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Hidden Tax and Free Labor Claims in Michigan Bottle Return Law
By David Najor :: 56477 Views :: Law & Order, Business & Finance, Government & Society, Chaldean Justice League

Michigan, USA - “Chaldean convenient and grocery market retailers are unhappy about this,” says Jalal Rayes, a prominent consultant to Chaldean food retailers in southeast Michigan.  “You can’t keep kicking small businesses.  We are tired of it.  The state already has added more taxes, more regulation, more fees for permits, more taxes for equipment, and now is considering turning our businesses into recycle centers.  They just can’t afford it.  It hurts customers, employees, and businesses that are keeping Michigan alive.”


The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) kicked off an initiative today to convince the legislature to add a 10-cent deposit for water bottles.   This is the same group that originally pushed for Michigan to become the first state to require deposits on pop bottles.

The idea has come under harsh criticism from Chaldeans and many others in the business community, mainly those that would be responsible for handling all the new empty containers. 

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Chaldean Travel Spot Under Threat Because of Christian Cross
By Sam Yousif :: 25231 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society


Michigan, USA – Many would say it is a rite of passage for Michigan Chaldeans to visit Frankenmuth.  The Bavarian village, dubbed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” has rich cultural and historical significance and is one of the largest tourist attractions in Michigan.  The small town is now facing legal pressure to strip all religious symbols from their village.  The legal threats hope to end the all-year Christmas displays, removal of the Cross from the town shield, and the destruction of the Cross in the city park.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has taken steps to challenge the city for its use of religions symbols. In response, the City Council of Frankenmuth unanimously voted to retain the Thomas More Law Center to defend its unique historical and cultural heritage.  

Christian persecution in America is not necessarily physical abuse says David Haddad, a student of world history.  He asserts that it is more psychological and systematic intimidation that will eventually lead to physical abuse.  “When a Chaldean thinks of ‘persecution’ our minds turn to the humiliating and horrible conditions we faced as a people or the holocaust our people suffered during World War I,” Haddad adds. 

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Chaldean in Oak Park Michigan Offended by Tax Increase Reasons
By Sam Yousif :: 14150 Views :: Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans in Oak Park, Michigan are perplexed over plans by Oak Park Mayor to ask its residents to approve a tax hike.  The mayor says the money is needed to keep two public safety officers on the payroll and buy patrol cars in the wake of budget cuts.

Mayor Gerald Naftaly says the city had to cut $900,000 from its 2008-09 budget because of declining revenues.  A decline that many say has been caused because of the city’s inability to keep property values from plummeting.  “I don’t understand why Mayor Naftaly has to cut police.  There are other ways to save money for the city,”  Oak Park resident,
Imad Kuza says

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