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on the cover






Media Minded

Executive Order consistent with campaign message





There’s a crack in everything 10



Big on business and small town charm











Artistic Therapy 32


WHERE DO YOU STAND? Is President Trump right to give priority immigration status to Christians of the Middle East?






A Ph.D in Arab studies and Doctorate in Life experiences



The Genesis of men sharing their faith with others




CHALDEAN ON THE STREET What do you think of President Trump giving Christians priority status?

Brothers bring spark to electrical contracting business 34





MARCH 2017


from the EDITOR


The Chaldean News, LLC

Media Minded


hen I was studypower in the pen and with ing journalism those who have access to EDITOR IN CHIEF Vanessa Denha-Garmo at Wayne State the airwaves. University for my underToday, the media are MANAGING EDITORS Denha Media Group graduate degree, I wrote not the only powerful CONTRIBUTING WRITERS a paper about the media people and this presidency Weam Namou and their relationship is proving it. With social Haleem Sheena Paul Natinsky with past presidents. At media platforms, anyone Lisa Cipraino the time, Bill Clinton was with a large following, Kris Harris VANESSA our President. I referenced including the President, a book called, The Press DENHA-GARMO can garner just as much ART & PRODUCTION and the Presidency: From EDITOR IN CHIEF and sometimes even more CREATIVE DIRECTOR CO-PUBLISHER George Washington to attention that any single Alex Lumelsky with SKY Creative Ronald Reagan, authored media outlet can provide. GRAPHIC DESIGNERS by Sarah Mile Watts and John WilIt has always been my belief Zina Lumelsky with SKY Creative liam Tebbel. I have been thinking that Barak Obama became the 44th PHOTOGRAPHERS Igor Zehl about that paper and the book in President of the United States, deKhalid Mohammed particular a lot lately. The two only spite his lack of experience and Vanessa Denha Garmo wrote the one edition, but I can’t virtually no name recognition, help but think a second edition only because he utilized the biggest OPERATIONS is long over-due. My paper ended platform in the world – The Oprah Interlink Media with Clinton giving an overview Winfrey Show. I don’t believe there DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS of how the media has covered the was a more powerful public forum Martin Manna presidency over the years, and how he could use than the one the CLASSIFIEDS Kris Harris the authors explore the shifting and Queen of Talk provided. often dangerous press-president reThat show has since ended and lations. As we look at the infancy social media has emerged, foreverSALES of the Trump’s presidency, we can changing the media climate. We Interlink Media at least surmise that his is a loveall are adapting, fighting and strugSALES REPRESENTATIVES Interlink Media hate relationship with the media. gling with the “new” media. Some Sana Navarrette I have been in the media, and issues only get the fair coverage MANAGERS working with the media for more they deserve on social platforms. Vanessa Denha-Garmo Martin Manna than 20 years. It is truly a part of Or, perhaps you can tell the real Michael Sarafa my fabric. I think my emotions are story on your own platform if the SUBSCRIPTIONS: $25 PER YEAR THE CHALDEAN NEWS mixed between love and hate, renews isn’t covering it. 30850 TELEGRAPH ROAD, SUITE 220 spect and disgust with the media toAs far as we can tell, this PresiBINGHAM FARMS, MI 48025 WWW.CHALDEANNEWS.COM day. Having been in it for so long, I dent will spend the next four PHONE: (248) 996-8360 know first-hand the challenges and years in a tumultuous relationship the responsibility. A professor once with the media. I think he is in a Publication: The Chaldean News (P-6); Published said that if we were to pursue this “dammed if you do, dammed if you monthly; Issue Date: March 2017 Subscriptions: profession, we would be the most don’t” situation. Both sides are to 12 months, $25. Publication Address: 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, Michigan 48025; powerful people in the world. That blame. The old saying goes, it takes Application to Mail at Periodicals Postage Rates is Pending at Farmington Hills Post Office Postmaster: statement has proven to be true a two to tango. They are both enSend address changes to “The Chaldean News 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025” million-times over. There is great gaged in this dance. His untamed tongue has triggered some of the attacks and biased reporting, by some media outlets, has prompted the President to tangle via tweets. New York Life Congratulates Gabriel H. Sinawi CLU®, ChFC® Among the many controverfor more than 35 Years of Service sial stories in the news today was the President’s executive order to Individual Life Insurance, IRAs, SEPs and 529 Plans,* Annuities,* Mutual ban entrance of refugees or anyone Funds*, Health Insurance,** Medicare Supplemental Insurance** from seven Arab Countries. I am ContACt: Gabriel H. Sinawi CLU®, ChFC® one that doesn’t believe it is a MusLicensed Insurance Agent lim ban although, I do have quesNew York Life Insurance Company tion as to why certain countries EMAIL: were not included. However, I do PHonE: 248-357-8971 support the priority status ChrisFAx: 248-352-9680 tians were given for many reasons. AddRESS: 4000 Town Center, Suite 1300 Southfield MI 48075 My opinion on that can be found on our website. * Issued by new York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation (A delaware Corporation). # Securities offered For the purpose of this edition, through nYLIFE Securities LLC (member FInRA/SIPC). ** Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with new York Life, dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality. we give you the cover story that foEDITORIAL



MARCH 2017

cuses on an interview from Senator David Trott on the issue, as well as a side bar on his opinion about it. We have spent that last 13 years covering the plight of Christians in Iraq. I co-produced the documentary Marked on the topic. We, as Chaldeans, know first-hand the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. We must support any effort to help them. That was the main reason I agreed to go on Fox 2 Detroit’s Let it Rip with Huel Perkins and Charlie Langton. Despite being challenged by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, in her often emotional style that the platform itself creates, I stood my ground. This was not about banning Muslims. It is about protecting our country and supporting anyone persecuted. Regardless of the platform, the real power is in truth. Not political and personal agendas or media biases. It is speaking truth, which I always believe comes out eventually, so why not tell it in the beginning. You don’t need a pen that drips powerful ink, or have a voice that is heard by millions. You need only to use whatever platform you stand on to utter words of honesty and integrity. It’s about you being mindful of the media not about the media controlling your mind. Alaha Imid Koullen (God Be With Us All)

Vanessa Denha-Garmo Follow her on Twitter @ vanessadenha Follow Chaldean News on Twitter @ chaldeannews

Recent Development On Tuesday, February 21st, Sterling Heights’ city council voted unanimously 7-0 to approve building a Mosque. In the April issue, we will take a deeper look into the relationship between Chaldeans and Muslims in the United States. 


Contrasting View The “slanting” fallacy involves describing a position in negative terms instead of arguing against it. Sarafa’s piece concerning Cardinal Burke is slant-riddled (In My View, February 2016). Using words such as “extreme,” “traditionalism,” “moralism,” “rigid,” “byzantine,” “arcane,” “absurd,” and “anti-Francis,” his piece evokes a knee-jerk reaction intended to cloud rational judgment. Ironically, Sarafa accuses the Cardinal of “ranting,” though Sarafa’s own article reads like a tantrum and is misinformed. Burke sees himself as Francis’ supporter and protector, not his “opponent.” He is concerned to prevent moral mayhem; a true pastor, he believes, ensures moral accountability, not accommodation. That formal correction of a pontiff “has not been used in centuries” does not illegitimate it; suggesting that a policy such as this should be revoked if it is seldom transgressed, or rarely applied, is irrational.  The Church is “stupid,” Sarafa

thinks, not to support contraceptive measures in “depraved places.” However, if “ends justify means,” we open ourselves to moral violations that not even Sarafa would accept. Or perhaps he would--since he seems ignorant of the philosophical foundations of the Church’s sexual morality, claiming that it is a set of “assertions” without a basis in “common sense and decency.” Utterly against charity, and astonishing illogical, is his ad hominem suggestion that advanced age renders a person’s moral or philosophical positions untenable (he notes repeatedly that the dubia were composed by “octogenarians” — “the old”)! One wonders if Sarafa’s opinions, too, will expire as he seasons.  In the penultimate paragraph of the article we see both hysteria and calumny. Sarafa actually suggests that the Cardinal is a cross-dresser.  Sarafa’s article offends liberals, conservatives, charity itself, and most of all reason. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and criticizing a Cardinal who clearly has fortitude surpassing 99% of us Catholics, let’s

look to Burke as a moral exemplar and defender of truth. – Dr. Elizabeth Salas, Ph.D and Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Tying the Knot I think if Jesus showed up today marriage and family would be very much on His mind. The family is the core unit of society and if this unravels, society unravels. Divorce contributes to this. I do not judge anyone who is divorced because I know it is a very difficult and painful situation with a lot of heartache. We should not judge them just as it is not our place to judge anyone. We leave that to God who is the only one who can judge perfectly. Divorcees have the option of annulment before remarriage. Annulment is necessary because marriage is God’s law, not man’s. If an annulment is granted individuals can remarry and receive communion, no problem. What if an annulment is not granted? That is truly difficult and sad and I don’t have an answer

but Our Blessed Mother has said that if we pray and fast we will find a solution to every problem even if we believe non exists. If someone chooses to remarry w/o an annulment God will not banish them. He will love them and stay close to them. Receiving communion will not help them but going to Mass will. – Vickie Sarafa

Concern for Others This letter was sent to Archdiocese of Detroit, in response to the Michigan Catholic’s Feb. 10th cover story. Greetings Father Grau and Mr. Blaul: It was good seeing the concern for refugees by the Archbishop, but I saw very little mention of resettling and aiding our Christian brothers and sisters being severely persecuted in the Middle East! This disturbed me greatly, especially after reading the article linked below. National security is a must! article. All of my Catholic relatives and friends in the A of D feel the same. See 20 “..Thoroughly Vetted..” Muslim Refugees Who Committed Acts of Terrorism Inside the United States After Being Approved for Entry. – Nick Sayers

MARCH 2017


in my VIEW

‘There’s a crack in everything’


here’s a story from of Roman that “hope does Buddhism about not disappoint.” But, a young man who rather, optimism disaphad lost his leg and was points. This may seem struggling emotionally. rather gloomy but FranHe went to a Buddhist cis conducts his ministry monastery seeking guidfrom a place of realism. ance and refuge. He was I think this Pope underextremely angry at life stands intuitively that MICHAEL G. and always drew pictures true faith often comes SARAFA of cracked vases. Over from a starting point of SPECIAL TO THE time, he found inner difficulties and challengCHALDEAN NEWS peace at the monastery. es. The Pope has been While his outlook on life began to critical in the past of “those who change and improve, he still drew hide in the Church” or are “couch broken vases. His master asked him Christians.” one day: “Why do you still draw In a recent homily, he said this: a crack in the vases? Are you not “No one learns to hope alone and whole?” He replied, “yes, and so are those who isolate themselves in the vases. That’s how the light gets their wellbeing know no hope; in.” their only hope is in welfare and One of the central themes of that is not hope: it is false security”. Pope Francis’ pontificate is that of Instead, the Pope says that “those “hope.” He often quotes the book who hope are those who experience



MARCH 2017

trials, uncertainty and their own limitations every day.” Enter Leonard Cohen, the poet, composer and musician who recently died. Cohen was born Jewish, studied Buddhism and drew much from the Christian faith for his music and poems. I’ve taken the

One of the central themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate is that of “hope.” occasion of his death to familiarize myself with his work. He started his career as a writer and much later began composing and performing his own material. He became known as sort of a philosopher and much of his focus was on religion,

spirituality, politics and love. One of his compositions, called Anthem, seems to draw from his connection to several religions including a reference to holy doves. The refrain goes like this: Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in The entire poem and musical arrangement can be heard on YouTube if you search “Cohen Anthem.” It’s really nice. It struck a chord with me and might with you too. If your life is a little cracked, or you’re not feeling entirely whole, remember, that’s how the light gets in. Then, recognizing one’s own limitations and uncertainties, ring that bells that still can ring and move forward.

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where do you STAND?

Is President Trump right to give priority immigration status to Christians of the Middle East? BY MIKE SARAFA


his month’s cover story explains President Trump’s follow through on his campaign pledge. Trump pledged to give Middle Eastern Christians priority when crafting immigration policies for the Unites States, including his attempted ban on immigration from certain Muslim countries. This pledge—now turned policy—is controversial to say the least. It has been championed by those representing the afflicted groups, but roundly condemned by those who object to religious preferences in these matters. Where do you stand? To analyze a complex problem such as this, it might be helpful to draw upon a basic theory in college logic courses. Remember Aristotle and the syllogism? Wikipedia defines a syllogism as a major premise, supported by a minor premise to deduce a conclusion. Thus, in Wikipedia’s example; all men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal. I have constructed four syllogisms that assume various points of view that might be useful in bring-



MARCH 2017

ing some clarity to this issue. But the bottom line is that the major premise is often formed by one’s own opinion of perspective regarding the facts. Still, some facts are well known which is potentially problematic for some conclusions. They are not constructed very neatly, but you’ll get the point. Here they are: All terrorists are Muslim. Muslim immigrants could be terrorists. Therefore immigration from Muslim countries should be stopped. Christians in the Middle East are persecuted. Persecuted people deserve special treatment. Therefore, Christians deserve special treatment. The influx of immigrants is bad. U.S Policy allows too much immigration. Therefore U.S immigration policy is bad. Americans have common Judeo-Christian values. Christians of the Middle East share those values.

Therefore, more Christians should be welcomed to the U.S. There seems to be two underlying premises to Trump’s views: one is that crime is up nationally; second, illegal immigration is up. Therefore, illegal immigrants must commit crime. Unfortunately, for the Trump administration, there are no facts that bear any of that out. On the other hand, the fate of Christianity in the Middle East has been moving in the wrong direction for a generation. With ISIS, it came to head. Christians were given a choice to convert, leave or die. Christian towns were emptied then plundered. Churches destroyed. There is a case for preferences for Christian immigration. It runs up against American ideals of fairness and equity. It is between these two roads that this issue travels. How it ends up and whether it is right, is up to us as a society and government to decide.

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Reclaiming Iraq Thursday, January 26, 2017 will be remembered as an historical day for the people of Telkaipe. The celebration was attended by his Excellency Mar Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldeans world-wide in addition to Bishop Basillio Yaldo and bishop Michael Al-Makdasi and Bishop Habib Nofali and other priests and nuns. The celebration was for the installation of the cross back on top of the dome of Sacred Heart Chaldean Church in Telkaipe after being liberated from the rule of ISIS. Young men form the town of Telkaipe climbed to the top of the dome and installed a wooden cross until a big permanent one is made an affixed on top. The people of the town rejoiced at the sounds of the church bells being heard again. Local government authorities along with the Kurdish Peshmerga were among the attendance. “It was a truly historical moment,” said Shokie Konja from the Chaldean Voice. Konja flew to Iraq specifically to witness this event, “to raise the Chaldean flag on the roof of the church and to regain our Christian city of Telkaipe was so emotional. It was an honor to share in this solidarity and to represent not only the Chaldean Voice but the community in Michigan.”

He’s got Game George Kassa and team won the World Championships in the Rainbow Six Siege World Championship Competition. His team, Continuum, represented the United States. Twelve teams from around the globe competed for the coveted title, six from PC, and six from Xbox. Competing in Montreal, the winning team took home the title and a $200,000 prize. Throughout the past year of the Rainbow Six ESL Pro League, four teams stood out and were invited, the other 8 had to earn a spot in the Six Invitational. They have fought, competed, and claimed championships that have earned them this incredible opportunity. On February 3-5th, 2017 in Montreal, these four teams competed against eight qualifier winners for Rainbow Six Siege’s biggest event ever. The 3-day event matched the six PC teams against each other. The wining team from PC was Continuum.

A Right to Life For the 3rd year in a row, Right to Life Michigan has teamed up with the Chaldean Diocese and community members to host an annual fundraiser called “Min Sharetha.” The Benefit Reception is on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at the Shenandoah Country Club. Shauna is the keynote speaker. Her story is powerful. Her prolife witness heroic. Her talk will be inspiring to all who attend this annual event in support of Right to Life of Michigan’s 12


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prolife educational outreach within the Chaldean community. If you have not seen this clip either on the Right to Life of Michigan’s website ( or on television, then you’ll want to watch the Shauna Prewitt piece on this link: https://rtl. org/compassion/play_all.html

People on the Move Dr. Nafso, Dr. Samano, and Dr. Kejbou at Bloomfield Hills Dental Associates are proud to welcome Dr. Anthony Yaldo to the practice. Dr. Yaldo is a recent graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. He is committed to providing an exceptional dental experience in a comfortable atmosphere for every patient. Dr. Yaldo is dedicated to helping patients attain their ideal smile and is thrilled to join the practice.

Arabo was one of the 10 selected as “Blaine’s Best”, and was nominated by her friend Brandy. She awarded the honor for her work as a school teacher, winning Michigan’s Teacher of the Year award, writing a children’s book about combating bullying, and her work with other schools around the state to find out what they were doing to help end it. Her focus as a teacher has always been about what’s best for kids and the environment in which they learn. She teaches her students to be lifelong learners, but more importantly, how to be compassionate and empathetic to others, and that’s why she was chosen as one of “Blaine’s Best”.

One of the Best Going Sola A new concept in the salon business has attracted Chaldean entrepreneurs. Contacts: Renadah Arabo 248-974-7391 or Rahnda Loussia 248. 346. 6611

96.3 WDVD’s Blaine Fowler Morning Show’s “Blaine’s Best” honors extraordinary women in the community who do special things for others, who are selfless and give of themselves all the time. Hundreds of women were nominated by listeners, but only 10 were chosen. Melody

People in the News KW Domain welcomes new associate Kim Salman. They are very excited to have her join their Birmingham family and thrilled at the opportunity to have their businesses grow together.

People in the Spotlight Mark & Marilyn Kassa attended the 59th Annual Grammy’s in Los Angeles. The event took place at the STAPLES Center and was broadcast LIVE on Sunday, February 12th.


Industry Outlook: Women Leaders in the Chaldean Community


n the April issue of the Chaldean News, we will feature a recap of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce’s Industry Outlook: Women Leaders in the Chaldean Community. Industry Outlook events vary in topics and industry focus, but always provide information and insight for today’s professionals. This event will feature a format that it hasn’t used in many years. “We are very excited to have an all-women panel,” said Mary Kirma, Events Coordinator with Chaldean Chamber. “It has been nearly 10 years since we’ve had an event like this, so we’re thrilled to have them share their success stories with our members.” The March 1st event is at The Bird & The Bread in Birmingham. Guest speakers include Dr. Marisa Abbo, Medical Director of Covenant Community Care, Renee Lossia-Acho, Owner and Investor of KW Domain Luxury Homes Interna-

Christine Jonna Piligian

Judge Hala Jarbou

tional, Judge Hala Jarbou, Oakland County Circuit Court, and Christine Jonna Piligian, Chairman and President of Jonna Realty Ventures, Inc. Vanessa Denha Garmo, CoPublisher and Editor-in-Chief for the Chaldean News and Founder of Denha Media Group, will moderate the event. “I thought it was a great idea to have women panelists,” said Denha Garmo. “I am really looking forward to moderating an event that will spotlight some of the best and brightest women in our community.” Speaker Dr. Marisa Abbo re-

Dr. Marisa Abbo

Renee Lossia-Acho

ceived her Bachelors in Psychology from Wayne State University and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan. She changed career paths to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a doctor and works for a faith based federally qualified health center in Royal Oak that cares for the uninsured and underinsured. Renee Lossia Acho emerged quickly as an industry leader using her skillful, creative, and consultative approach to marketing and sales. Renee ranks in the top 1% of realtors nationally and was the 2015 Entre-

preneur of the Year for the Women’s Council of Realtors as well as named a 2016 Esteemed Women of Michigan Honoree. Judge Hala Jarbou graduated from Wayne State University Law School and was appointed as an Oakland County Circuit Court Judge in October 2015. She was assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division and is a member of the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity. Christine Jonna Piligian joined Jonna Construction Company in 1972 and in 1981, she saw an opportunity to expand the family business into real estate. Since the formation of Jonna Realty Ventures, Inc., the company has evolved into a fullservice real estate development and property management company. “All of the speakers bring years of experience to the panel,” explained Kirma. “So members will have an opportunity to obtain a unique perspective on the industry.”

MARCH 2017


IRAQ today

Iraqis risk all to spy on Islamic State militants in Mosul BY QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA AND SUSANNAH GEORGE



MARCH 2017


MOSUL, Iraq (AP) The Iraqi intelligence agent knew something was wrong. An Islamic State group member working for him as an informant in the city of Mosul called him on his mobile, but he didn’t identify himself by the code name they always used in their communications. Then the informant started talking to him about selling his car. The agent played along. Days later, the informant called back and explained: The militants had seen the number on his phone and, always on the hunt for spies, demanded he call it. So he did and pretended he was talking to the guy who sold him his car. Iraqi intelligence has some 300 people working as informants inside the city of Mosul, part of an enormous information-gathering operation unfolding on the sidelines of the intense urban fighting for Mosul, according to officials. They have pinpointed militants’ positions and movements, warned of car bombs or hidden explosives and helped fill a list of names of IS supporters. The work is extremely dangerous. IS militants in Mosul are known to kill at the slightest suspicion of espionage. People caught speaking on mobile phones have been shot by snipers or killed and hung from lampposts, according to accounts from the city. And when Iraqi forces recapture a neighborhood, informants face getting caught up in residents’ revenge attacks against militants. More than half a dozen Iraqi intelligence officials interviewed by The Associated Press described their operations. They said trust of the security forces among Mosul’s residents has been key to their efforts. However, reports of long, arbitrary detentions of men and boys suspected of IS-links risks undermining that trust. During the Mosul operation, intelligence agencies have built a database of some 18,000 names of suspected IS fighters, according to two Iraqi intelligence officials in Baghdad who have access to the database. Male residents of retaken parts of the city are checked against the list, leading so far to the arrest of 900 people, they said. All the officials spoke on condi-

Cell phones vary widely in Mosul, Iraq.

tion of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the press. They also refused to give details on the informants for fear of endangering them. The informants have a variety of motives. Some do it for money, since some agents pay for information. Others do it out of hatred of IS. One operative was an Iraqi IS member who was beaten because he was caught smoking _ a crime under the militants’ rule. “That was the first spark,’’ said a Baghdad-based intelligence official in contact with the man. As time went on, the man grew disillusioned. So he started feeding information to intelligence officials. Another is a 70-year-old man who escaped the militants’ suspicions because of his age, the official said. But then after his neighborhood was retaken by Iraqi forces, neighbors blew up his house in anger at IS, unaware he was secretly betraying the group. After months of fighting, troops have taken Mosul’s eastern half and are about to move into the west. The intelligence gathering effort has been crucial there since Iraqi forces were under pressure for precision to avoid casualties among the hundreds of thousands of civilians still in the city. On a recent day on the outskirts of Mosul, an Iraqi major involved in

planning the western assault scrolled through messaging apps on his phone. The screen was filled with short texts, dropped pins and links to satellite maps. The messages read simply: “sniper position,’’ “mortar team,’’ and “Daesh base,’’ using the Arabic acronym for the militant group. He and intelligence officials said

During the Mosul operation, in­ telligence agencies have built a da­tabase of some 18,000 names of sus­pected IS fighters. they vet and cross-check information. Still, the process has been plagued with problems. A colonel in the intelligence services in Baghdad said dozens of trusted informants have turned out to be double agents for IS. He recounted one case of one who provided information for weeks about fighters and headquarters behind IS lines. Last month, he sent in a tip about a roadside bomb. The colonel vetted the tip and

sent one of his men in Mosul to investigate. The soldier and the source were not heard from again. “We think the source handed him over to Daesh,’’ he said. Another intelligence official said he knew of some half dozen informants discovered and killed by IS and still more who stopped sending information, their fate unknown. Key to success has been the concerted effort by security forces to keep support of Mosul’s Sunnis, who have resented domination by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. They long complained of discrimination and of abuses by security forces, something that helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State group. During the Mosul offensive, troops have gone out of their way to help residents and prevent sectarian tensions. On a recent operation in eastern Mosul, Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi and his men were greeted warmly by residents of the Andalus neighborhood. They went door to door asking about IS militants. One resident, Muhammed Ghanim, led the soldiers to a house with a pile of mortars in the garden. “This was where they had their base,’’ he said. Another, Amar Baroudi, gave the soldiers tea _ and names of more than 20 Iraqis fighting for IS. “These people were ignorant and very cruel to us.’’ he said of the militants. “Now I’m proud to help the security forces find them and punish them.’’ That goodwill can be easily strained. Human Rights Watch says it has information indicating thousands have likely been arrested in the Mosul operation. The vast majority have not been allowed to access a lawyer or inform their families where they are, said Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq researcher for HRW. Wille said initially families from Mosul who had a loved one detained by Iraqi forces trusted they would quickly be screened and released, but as months dragged on with no news, that mood is changing. “They had this window to regain the trust,’’ Wille said, “but they’re losing that opportunity.’’

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MARCH 2017


CHAI time

CHALDEANS CONNECTING Wednesday, March 1 Event: The Chaldean Americans Chamber of Commerce Presents Industry Outlook: Women Leaders in Chaldean Community. The event will be held at Bird & The Bread, located at 210 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, MI 48009. It will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. The program will be moderated by Vanessa Denha Garmo. Appetizers, wine and beer will be served. Guest speakers include: Dr. Marisa Abbo from Covenant Community Care, Renee Lossia-Acho from KW Domain Luxury Homes International, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hala Jarbou and Christine Jonna Piligian from Jonna Realty Ventures, Inc. This is a free event for members only. If you would like to attend, please contact Mary Kirma at 248.996. 8340. Wednesday, March 1 Faith: At ECRC is the monthly Arabic Program with Karam Bahnam. This program allows us to come together to give praise to God through live music and songs, as well as to meditate on one thought from many perspective with the goal of learning our faith and nourishing our souls. This takes place at ECRC at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1 – Sunday, April 30 Nature: Butterflies Are Blooming, Meijer Gardens in GR; The annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Meijer Gardens is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. About 7,000 tropical butterflies from around the world fly freely in the Tropical Conservatory. Thursday, March 2 Faith: Join ECRC at Holy Martyrs Church for a Theology course with Hubert Sanders. Come early for Mass at 7:00 p.m. Holy Martyrs Church is located at 43700 Merrill Sterling Heights, MI 48314 Thursday, March 2 and Friday March 3 Fair: The Royal Oak Farmer’s Market Spring Art Fair at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. Fair hours are 11 a.m. 8 p.m. each day. This show will feature 75 jury-selected artists, gourmet food trucks, and beer/wine. Admission is free. For more information, visit Saturday, March 4 Performance: It’s the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble 7:30 PM at the Detroit Opera House located at 1526 Broadway Detroit, Michigan 48226 Monday, March 6, 13, 20, 27 Faith: At ECRC on Maple Rd and Inkster is Theology 101 at 7:00 p.m. It is a Weekly course with Jeff Kassab, a Theology Major at Sacred Heart Seminary. Tuesday, March 7, 14, 21, 28 Faith: It is weekly Bible Study from 7 to 8 p.m. with his Excellency Bishop Francis Kalabat. It takes place every Tuesday at ECRC on Maple and Inkster in Bloomfield. Saturday, March 11 Event: It is the Motor City Blues Festival taking place at the Fox Theatre Detroit - Detroit, MI at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 21 Show: The Price is Right Live at the Fox Theater in Detroit at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23 thru Sunday, March 26 Performance: Disney On Ice: Follow Your Heart at the Show: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI. Show times are at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 31 Music: Ignite the Spirit is being held 7 to 9 p.m. Join ECRC each month and enjoy a night of Eucharistic Adoration, meditation, and song. You are invited to praise the Lord through his gift of music and to grow in a deeper love and intimacy with Him! 16


MARCH 2017


LEGAL ASSISTANCE Wednesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 15th The Legal Aid and Defender Association and the Oakland County Law Library have partnered together to offer free legal aid clinics to low income individuals at the Oakland County Law Library. The clinics are held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. every other Wednesday. Attendees may register in the Law Library any time before 3:00 p.m. The March 1st clinic will have an Arabic and Chaldean speaking attorney available. The clinics focus on civil law issues only for individuals and families. Attorneys will inform individuals about court procedures and forms, advise them of their rights, and in some cases represent them in court. The clinics are available to residents of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties.


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THE DIOCESE OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE IN THE UNITED STATES St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Diocese 25603 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48033; (248) 351-0440 Bishop: Francis Kalabat Retired Bishop: Ibrahim N. Ibrahim HOLY CROSS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 32500 Middlebelt Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334; (248) 626-5055 Rector: Msgr. Zouhair Toma Kejbou Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon in Chaldean; Saturdays, 4:30 p.m. in English; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, noon in English, 6 p.m., in Arabic HOLY MARTYRS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 43700 Merrill, Sterling Heights, MI 48312; (586) 803-3114 Rector: Fr. Manuel Boji Parochial Vicar: Fr. Andrew Seba Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Thursdays, 8 p.m. Seed of Faith in English; Saturdays, 7 p.m. Witness to Faith in Arabic Youth Groups: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 9 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays: 9 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, Morning Prayer at noon, High Mass at 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean; 6 p.m. in English MAR ADDAI CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 24010 Coolidge Highway, Oak Park, MI 48237; (248) 547-4648 Pastor: Fr. Stephen Kallabat Retired Priest: Fr. Suleiman Denha Adoration: Last Friday of the month, 4 p.m. Adoration; 5 p.m. Stations of the Cross; 6 p.m. Mass; Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Bible Study: Fridays, 8-10 p.m. in Arabic and Chaldean Youth Groups: Thursdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Jesus Christ University High School and College Mass Schedule: Weekdays, noon; Sundays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 12:30 p.m. High Mass in Chaldean MOTHER OF GOD CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 25585 Berg Road, Southfield, MI 48034; (248) 356-0565 Administrator: Fr. Pierre Konja Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Mondays, 7-9 p.m. in English; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. for college students in English Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m.; Tuesdays, 8:45 p.m. in English; Saturdays, 4 p.m. in English; Sundays: 8:30 a.m. in Arabic, 10 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 7 p.m. in English OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 11200 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48093; (586) 804-2114 Pastor: Fr. Fadi Philip Parochial Vicar: Hermiz Haddad Bible Study: Thursday, 8 p.m. for ages 18-45; Friday, 8 p.m. in Arabic. Teens 4 Mary Youth Group: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  Confession: 1 hour before mass or by appointment. Adoration: Thursday, 5-7 p.m. Chapel open 24/7 for adoration. Mass Schedule: Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Thursday, 1 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Friday 7 p.m. in Chaldean; Sunday, 10 a.m. in Arabic and 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean. SACRED HEART CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 30590 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 393-5809 Pastor: Fr. Sameem Belius Mass Schedule: Sundays, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean ST. GEORGE CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 45700 Dequindre Road, Shelby Township, MI 48317; (586) 254-7221 Pastor: Fr. Wisam Matti Parochial Vicar: Fr. Matthew Zetouna Youth Groups: Disciples for Christ for teen boys, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.; Circle of Friends for teen girls; Thursdays, 6 p.m.; Bible Study for college students, Wednesdays 8 p.m. Bible Study: Wednesdays, 8 p.m. in English; Fridays, 8 p.m. in Arabic Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Adoration; 8-10 p.m. Confession; Saturdays, 6:30 p.m. in English (school year); 6:30 p.m. in Chaldean (summer); Sunday: 8:30 a.m. in Chaldean, 10 a.m. in Arabic, 11:30 a.m. in English, 1:15 p.m. in Chaldean; 7:30 p.m. in English Submission Guidelines The Chaldean News welcomes submissions of obituaries. They should include the deceased’s name, date of birth and death, and names of immediate survivors. Please also include some details about the person’s life including career and hobbies. Due to space constraints, obituaries can not exceed 300 words. We reserve the right to edit those that are longer. Send pictures as a high-resolution jpeg attachment. E-mail obits to, or through the mail at 30850 Telegraph Road, Suite 220, Bingham Farms, MI 48025.



MARCH 2017

ST. JOSEPH CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 2442 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 528-3676 Pastor: Fr. Rudy Zoma Parochial Vicar: Fr. Bryan Kassa Bible Study: Mondays, 7 p.m. in Arabic; Tuesdays, 7 p.m. in English; Thursdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ Youth Group for High Schoolers Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean except Wednesdays, 10 a.m. in Arabic Saturdays, 6 p.m. in English and Chaldean; Sundays, 9 a.m. in Arabic, 10:30 a.m. in English, noon in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Chaldean and Arabic, 7 p.m. in Chaldean Baptisms: 3 p.m. on Sundays. ST. PAUL CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 5150 E. Maple Avenue, Grand Blanc, MI 48439; (810) 820-8439 Pastor: Fr. Ayad Hanna Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 6 p.m.; Sundays, 12:30 p.m. ST. THOMAS CHALDEAN CATHOLIC CHURCH 6900 Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 788-2460 Administrator: Fr. Bashar Sitto Parochial Vicars: Fr. Jirgus Abrahim, Fr. Anthony Kathawa Retired Priest: Fr. Emanuel Rayes Bible Study: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. in Arabic Youth Groups: Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. Girls Challenge Club for Middle Schoolers; Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Chaldeans Loving Christ for High Schoolers; Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. Boys Conquest Club for Middle Schoolers Other: First Thursday and Friday of each month, 10 a.m. Holy Hour; 11 a.m. Mass in Chaldean; Wednesdays from midnight to Thursdays midnight, adoration in the Baptismal Room; Saturdays 3 p.m. Night Vespers (Ramsha) in Chaldean Mass Schedule: Weekdays, 10 a.m. in Chaldean; Saturdays, 5 p.m. in English; Sundays, 9 a.m. in English, 10:30 a.m. in English, 12:30 p.m. in Chaldean, 2 p.m. in Arabic; 6 p.m. Grotto is open for Adoration 24/7 for prayer and reflection ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY OUR LADY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION ORDER Superior: Benynia Shikwana 5159 Corners Drive West Bloomfield, MI 48322; (248) 615-2951 CHALDEAN SISTERS/DAUGHTERS OF MARY HOUSE OF FORMATION 24900 Middlebelt Road Farmington Hills, MI 48336; (248) 987-6731 ST. GEORGE CONVENT Superior: Mubaraka Garmo 43261 Chardennay Sterling Heights, MI 48314; (586) 203-8846 EASTERN CATHOLIC RE-EVANGELIZATION CENTER (ECRC) 4875 Maple Road, Bloomfield Township, MI 48301; (248) 538-9903 Director: Patrice Abona Daily Mass: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. Thursdays: 5:30 Adoration and 6:30 Mass First Friday of the month: 6:30 p.m. Adoration, Confession and Mass Bible Study in Arabic: Wednesdays 7 p.m. Bible Study in English: Tuesdays 7 p.m. ST. GEORGE SHRINE AT CAMP CHALDEAN 1391 Kellogg Road, Brighton, MI 48114; (888) 822-2267 Campgrounds Manager: Sami Herfy ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ST. MARY HOLY APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST 4320 E. 14 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48092; (586) 825-0290   Rector: Fr. Benjamin Benjamin Mass Schedule: Sundays, 9 a.m. in Assyrian; noon in Assyrian and English ST. TOMA SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 25600 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48335; (248) 478-0835 Pastor: Fr. Toma Behnama Fr. Safaa Habash Mass Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. All in Syriac, Arabic and English CHRIST THE KING SYRIAC CATHOLIC CHURCH 2300 John R, Troy, MI 48083; (248) 818-2886

About Lent… The purpose of Lent is to be a season of fasting, self-denial, Christian growth, penitence, conversion, and simplicity. Lent, which comes from the Teutonic (Germanic) word for springtime, can be viewed as a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking spiritual inventory and then cleaning out those things which hinder our corporate and personal relationships with Jesus Christ and our service to him.

A Prayer for Lent Your Word reveals to us a simple truth, that sin entered this world through human folly in believing we could be like you, and permeated history through envy, selfishness and greed. Yet sin, which holds us tight within its grasp cannot resist a heart that is touched by your grace through Jesus Christ, cannot contend with Living Water pouring into hearts and souls. Your Word reveals to us a simple truth, that sin is defeated and we can become the people we were always meant to be, by your grace through Jesus Christ.

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Faeza Gaggo Kada

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Faeza Gaggo Kada 4/1/51-1/21/17 was a loved woman by all those who knew her. It’s been said over and over that her purpose was to make all those around her happy and she never failed; she always found her joy through all of her loved ones. She lit up a room with her smile and sense of humor. Whether you knew her for a day or for a lifetime, she welcomed and genuinely loved you with open arms. The gates of heaven opened up gracefully for her on 01/21/2017. She now remains in our hearts as an indescribable woman who gained her wings and they will be forever wrapped around us from above. She was a loving mother, wife, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend. She will be missed dearly by her beloved husband Samir Kada and her kids Rafi (Rita), Randi (Sally), Reta (Wally), Samir (Angie), Randa (Jeff) and her 17 beautiful grandchildren. Rest In Peace Nani, we love you! “...If we live, we live for the Lord;





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why christian priority? President’s Executive Order consistent with campaign message BY VANESSA DENHA GARMO


lthough Congress was not aware of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim countries prior to him signing it, his order was consistent with the campaign promises — just one of the many things noted by Congressman David Trott (R) from the 11th District as the opposition to the President continues. Shortly after President Trump signed the executive order, he announced that persecuted Christians would be given priority status while trying to enter into the United States. That statement escalated the controversy.  “There is no doubt that citizens of Iraq and Syria, regardless of their religion, are 22


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being persecuted, however Christians and other religious minorities are not just being persecuted, they are facing extinction,” said Trott. “This was proved in 2015 when the House of Representatives voted unanimously that religious minorities in Iraq and Syria were undergoing genocide at the hands of ISIS. Secretary Kerry subsequently stated that he agreed that these groups were facing genocide.” This acknowledgment does not to take away from the fact that other religious and ethnic groups are facing persecution, but in fact is a realistic view at what is going on, on the ground in Iraq and Syria. “Any serious refugee policy coming from the United States has to prioritize religious minori-

ties,” said Trott. “These minority groups in Iraq and Syria simply have nowhere else to go and are facing complete expulsion.” The United States has a history of making it easier for the worlds most vulnerable to seek refuge in the United States: The “Lautenberg Amendment” was a provision of the FY1990 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. It required the Attorney General to designate categories of former Soviet and Indochinese nationals for whom less evidence is needed to prove refugee status. The Lautenberg Amendment has been regularly extended in appropriations act and has also included a new provision known as the “Specter


S New legislation introduced In this developing story, on January 13th, House Resolution-565 was introduced. Its purpose is, “to recognize that Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, and Libya are targets of genocide, and to provide for the expedited processing of immigrant and refugee visas for such individuals, and for other purposes.” The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, was co-sponsored by Mike Bishop, R-Rochester Hills. As reported by Oakland Press columnist Mark Cavitt’s recent article, “The bill would declare these two minority groups as targets of genocide in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, and Libya,” said a spokesperson for Rep. Bishop. “ISIS has risen to power and is engaged in genocide

Amendment.” The Specter Amendment requires the designation of categories of Iranian nationals, specifically religious minorities, for whom less evidence is needed to prove refugee status. “Also, there is a certain category for refugees called “priority 2”, which is comprised of cases involving persons from specific groups of special humanitarian concern to the United States (e.g.; religious minorities in Iran),” said Trott. “Currently this group includes members of religious minorities; Iraqi’s associated with the United States, and Cuban political activists, amongst other groups. Considering the realities on the ground, I believe it is appropriate to include Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria in this category.” President Trump is doing everything he said he was going to do yet people in the country are reacting with such surprise and opposition. “President Trump was adamant on the campaign trail, saying that the United States had to do more to help religious minorities in the Middle East,” said Trott. Since being elected to Congress in 2014, Trott has been a leader in Congress, advocating for then President Obama to name a Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East, calling on the Obama administration to call what was going on to Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East a genocide, introducing legislation that calls on the United Nations to play a bigger role in the crisis in the Middle East, and also supporting legislation that would include Christians and other genocide survivors in the “Priority Two” (“P-2”) designation that would state that Christians and other genocide survivors from religious and ethnic minority communities are of “special humanitarian concern to the United States” and therefore able to access an overseas application interview for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program without needing a referral from the UN. “Once the President finally named a Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East, I brought him on his first official domestic trip, to personally meet with the local Chaldean community,

against those they deem unworthy – including Christians and Yazidis. It would also create an expedited processing of immigrant and refugee visas for these individuals.” HR-565 is cited as the “Save Christians from Genocide Act”. “The rise and wrath of ISIS is very real, and we must urgently act to help those who have become targets because of their faith,” said Bishop. “While the screening process will not change, House Resolution 565 is a step in the right direction because expedited review of these individuals can save their lives. I’ve discussed this issue with the Chaldean community in recent weeks, and I am hopeful we can make a difference with this legislation.”

not just to hear about the plight that Chaldean families are facing in Iraq, but to see the great, proud, successful community that we have in Southeast Michigan,” said Trott. “I thought it was important for the Obama administration to see first-hand just how connected local Chaldeans-Americans are with their heritage and history in Iraq. Providentially, on January 27, 2017, the same day that Trump signed his Executive Order on immigration, I sent a letter to President Trump, with 10 other bi-partisan members of Congress, urging him to prioritize the plight of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria in his foreign policy. For far too long under the previous administration these groups were neglected and only considered an afterthought.” Since uprisings began in Syria in 2011, the United States admitted a total of 14,460 Syrian refugees. A little more than 1% of the almost 15,000 Syrian refugees admitted were religious minorities. “This is an astonishingly disproportionate number, which is why I commend President Trump on prioritizing the need for religious minorities in the U.S. refugee process,” said Trott. The President was also clear on the need to protect the country’s borders and keep American safe from terrorists. “The scenes of refugees fleeing their homes across the Middle East are heartbreaking and, I believe, all people should be treated with dignity and respect,” said Trott. “While I am still reviewing the scope of the President’s Executive Order, I believe temporarily pausing individuals from countries compromised by terrorism is a reasonable approach until we can properly vet visitors from these nations.” Trott continued to say that the reality is we currently do not have the intelligence and resources to properly vet these individuals, and admitting them without proper screening puts our national security and American lives at risk. “During this temporary stay, the federal government must develop a robust vetting process that allows us to continue to be a welcoming nation, while protecting American families and our national security,” he noted.

ewn into the fabric of Southeast Michigan is the culture of Metro Detroit’s 120,000 Chaldean Americans. In fact, they represent the largest concentration of Chaldeans outside of Iraq. Rep. Dave Trott While this community has such a vibrant presence in Michigan, religious freedom has become an increasingly problematic international issue. In the United States, religious freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy, but it is also a fundamental human right that should be safeguarded for all global citizens, not just in their ancestral homelands, but anywhere in the world. Since coming to Congress, I have aspired to be a voice for religious minorities in the United States and across the globe, especially the Chaldean community in Southeast Michigan. I was proud to host the State Department Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Middle East in my district on his first official domestic trip, to personally meet with the local Chaldean community, not just to hear about the plight that Chaldean families are facing in Iraq, but to see the great, proud, successful community that we have in Southeast Michigan. I thought it was important for the Obama administration to see first-hand just how connected local Chaldeans-Americans are with their heritage and history in Iraq. Additionally, I introduced legislation calling for increased United Nations support for religious minorities and penned a letter to the USAID Administrator encouraging better facilitation of aid from U.S. NGOs to embattled populations in the Middle East. For the last eight years, and during my first term in Congress, we had an Administration that was reluctant to recognize or address the concerns of the Chaldean-American community. However, I am hopeful that this new Administration will be eager to work together to better represent them. Already this year, I started my second term by endorsing legislation that would give religious minorities in Iraq and Syria priority refugee status and writing a letter to President Trump urging him to prioritize them in the formulation of his foreign policy. There is no doubt that citizens of Iraq and Syria, regardless of their religion, are being persecuted. However, Christians and other religious minorities are not just being persecuted, they are facing extinction. This fact was underscored in 2015 when the House voted unanimously that religious minorities in Iraq and Syria were undergoing genocide at the hands of ISIS. We cannot afford to stand idly by while the very existence of these indigenous people is in peril. I will continue to be a strong voice for this community and will never stop fighting for them. I want to reiterate once again what an honor is it to serve Michigan’s 11th District and the Chaldean-American community in the United States House of Representatives. If you have any questions or comments on the work I’m doing or how I can better serve you, please always feel free to contact my offices in Troy or Washington, D.C. MARCH 2017



bustling birmingham Big on business and small town charm BY LISA CIPRIANO


here is a whole lot of business packed in the 4.73 square miles of Birmingham. The relatively small Oakland County city, with a small town feel, is home to 300 retailers. In fact, it boasts about 1.5 million square feet of retail commercial space and 2.2 million square feet of office space in its downtown area alone. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how much commercial activity we have going on,” said Birmingham Mayor Mark Nickita. “We’re almost fully occupied.” The proud mayor thinks it speaks volumes about his little city. “I think that alone says that we’re business friendly enough for all of those businesses to want to be there,” Nickita said. “And, I think that we’ve been helpful as a city, to allow them to thrive in the way that they individually are able to.” What makes Birmingham different from other local business hubs is that it’s pedestrian friendly, which allows businesses to benefit from each other. In fact, the city was named the fifth most successful walkable suburb 24


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in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal in 2010. “You can walk to lunch, walk to go see a movie, go buy a pair of shoes and then walk to other businesses,” explained Nickita. “We are very pedestrian orientated and try to make it as walkable as possible. We try to make it as comfortable as possible for people to make their way around without a car by adding a number of crosswalks and sidewalks.” Birmingham’s businesses are housed in a mixture of historic buildings, modern retail and office developments. Architect Victor Saroki is not only a Birmingham business owner, but he’s a big part of creating the retail and office space that’s helped keep business booming in Birmingham. Over the past 33 years, Sarocki Architecture has done more than 70 buildings in Birmingham, in addition to custom homes in the city. “We’ve done the Townsend Hotel, the Birmingham Theatre, the District Lofts, the Willitz, which is a mixed use condominium development, and our own office building in Birmingham

just to name a few,” added Saroki. Sarocki says he was always interested in urban development, and chose to set-up shop in Birmingham over much bigger cities like Detroit and Chicago. “It’s a great community to do that,” Saroki said. “It’s very balanced with entertainment and shop-

“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much commercial activity we have going on.” – MARK NICKITA, BIRMINGHAM MAYOR

ping. It’s upscale, walkable and we’ve got a lot of mixed-use buildings where people live right downtown. It was the perfect choice.” Saroki says the range of people who live, work and play Birmingham are a huge asset to doing business there. “We have business owners, we have developers, homeowners and we have a phenomenal base of rela-

tionships,” he said. “I call them the who’s who of southeast Michigan. They bring a lot to the table.” Saroki also attributes his personal success in Birmingham to the ease of working with the city’s government. “They are pro-business and totally business friendly, “Saroki added. “They get it and strive hard to find the appropriate balance for their

in a walkable community with great parks. “I don’t need to get in my car to go shop and dine and everything else,” explained Denha. What he didn’t realize was how much his clients would enjoy Birmingham, too “They want to come to Birmingham,” Denha said. “No longer do they want me to go to them. They are asking to come to the office. Birmingham sells itself.” Denha agrees with Saroki that the city’s government is very conducive to the success of its businesses, by giving them more bang for their buck. “They advertise for you,” noted Denha. “Between the local chamber of commerce and business magazines, they’re circulating enough exposure for you to where you feel wanted and welcomed.”

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business owners and residents.” Attorney Randall Denha is a another example of a business owner that was able to spread his wings and thrive in Birmingham. He began his career as a partner at a large firm in Troy. When he went out on his own in 2010, he began by leasing office space in Birmingham. Denha quickly made the city his business’s permanent home, after finding his own building and developing it to suit his needs. He eventually built a development on Merrill St. that Denha & Associates PLLC and various other companies occupy now. Denha chose Birmingham because it’s centrally located near his client base. He also wanted to be somewhere where he, personally, could enjoy a good work/life balance




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P L E A SE M A I L T H E F O R M , W I T H A C H E C K PAYA B L E T O : C HA L D E A N N EWS , AT T N : SU B S C R I P T IO N S 3 0 8 5 0 T E L E G R A P H R OA D, SU I T E 2 2 0 B I N G HA M FA R M S , M IC H IG A N 4 8 0 2 5 P HO N E : 2 4 8 - 9 9 6 - 8 3 6 0

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lifelong degree A Ph.D. in Arab Studies and Doctorate in Life Experiences BY WEAM NAMOU


orn in Basra, Professor Yasmeen Hanoosh left Iraq in 1995, at the age of 17 to come to the United States. Despite knowing very little English, she was able to attain, within 13 years, a Ph.D. in Arab Studies from the University of Michigan and she is currently an associate professor of Arabic language and literature at Portland State University. When she first moved to America, Hanoosh lived in the City of Southfield and went to Southfield Lathrup High School where she set herself up for her first great challenge. “I went to the library and looked at the books and I just wanted to read all of them,” she said. “But they were in English, and I could barely read English.” She picked up one book and said to herself that if she could read it from cover to cover, then she has accomplished a great thing in life. It took her an hour to read each page because she had to look up so many unfamiliar words in the dictionary. “It was a gradual and painful process that took months to get through, but I went through it, and I basically taught myself English,” she said. Aside from having to learn English, Hanoosh encountered other difficulties in her new home. “Those were very interesting times,” she said. “One usually expects the culture shock to be with the American culture. My bigger shock was the Chaldean community in America. It was neither the Hollywood community that I saw on television, nor the Chaldeans I knew in Iraq.” Hanoosh had come from a war zone. At the end of the Iraq-Iran war, her family’s home was bombed. They later endured the Gulf War and the sanctions. “There, people were concerned with life or death,” she said. “Here, they were more concerned with the symbolic meaning of Chaldeans.” For her, these issues, although valid, seemed irrelevant. It took her 26


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Yasmeen takes a break.

decades to understand their relevancy in the West. “There was a lot of indirect pressure to identify as non-Arab and that became the focus, using big crosses to indicate we’re not Arab, we’re Chaldeans, and this became the discourse of victimology. It’s a defensive kind of identity. The Christians in Iraq didn’t have the luxury to think about these things because they had to figure out how to survive while bombs were going overhead. ” At Southfield Lathrup, Hanoosh had to cope with issues she didn’t have to deal with in Iraq, such as selfesteem and a sense of belonging. She was literally a world away from Basra, where she was confident with herself. “Chaldeans felt they were not white, or black, or any other group, so they had all sorts of concerns about their conduct,” she said. “In Iraq, what women and men had to do or not do was a given.” She feels incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon people who supported her in her pursuits and fostered it by sending her in the right directions. Meanwhile, she also had to contend with her family who didn’t understand why she had chosen the path she chose and were suspicious whether it had any rewards. “In our community, the pressure

to conform is very strong and there’s little appreciation or understanding of other pursuits of the mind,” she said. “The easier solution would have been to give up.” But that was not in Hanoosh’s nature. Her ambitiousness led her to set incredibly difficult tasks for herself. She accomplished them by working hard and not socializing. She achieved great status with her degrees, several publications and a number of honors, grants and fellowships, including the International Studies and Foreign Language grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Florence-Gould Foundation Award, and the National Endowment for the Arts Translation Award. With all this success, she finally became “legitimate.” “My family didn’t support me to pursue that path until they saw the results,” she said. “Then they appreciated the hard work.” Today, Professor Hanoosh directs the Arab program at Portland State University (PSU), which teaches the Arabic language and Middle Eastern culture. “In my own research, I work on the more marginal themes within these subjects and I pursue projects to help the refugees,” she said. One of her efforts is the Arab refu-

gee assistance program, an exchange program that helps Iraqi refugees acclimate to Oregon with help from PSU students. It also helps expose students of Arabic at PSU to the real culture that they’re trying to study. “There isn’t an established Chaldean and Arabic community to help them here,” she said. “I look at Michigan as an example of how we can help them integrate. There’s nothing like that here.” This year, Hanoosh is also leading a community conversation throughout Oregon through the Institute for the Humanities’ Conversation Project. The topic is “Arab Refugees in our Midst: Terrorism, Bigotry and Freedom.” Given the adversity she went through, Professor Hanoosh advices the young women in the community not to get discouraged from following their path. “Don’t let the larger mainstream expectations direct your life,” she said. “There’s a lot of diversity within our community. There are Chaldeans all over this country, all over this world, pursuing their heart’s desire and that’s oaky. When we don’t pursue knowledge, we don’t find about this diversity. When you pursue your own desires, you will stumble upon these people.”

men of faith The genesis of men sharing their faith with others BY KRIS HARRIS


he Genesis 4:9 Men’s Group started a lityou may not need it, but your brother needs you.” tle over a year ago. However, what started The group meets at Mother of God Church on out as a few men getting together in faith, the third Friday of every odd month, and brings has turned into something quite remarkable. The together men from all around the community. “It’s group was formed with the intention to get togethmen from the eastside and westside, some older, er, outside of church, to share faith and everyday some younger, some who are married and others life in a comfortable environment. “It was some who are single, which was exactly the goal,” said Fr. men, church-going, Jesus lovin’ men, who came Pierre. “We weren’t looking for an age group, but together organically with the Holy Spirit in our for all the men in our community. All are welcome hearts,” said Fr. Pierre Administrator at Mother of to come pray with us.” God Chaldean Church in Southfield. The meetings welcome a speaker and have a One of the driving forces was to provide an topic of discussion. However, the founders knew environment where men could open up and talk that format would not last long. “After the first freely about real issues that they face, individually, as well as issues they see in the community. “Men, and particularly Chaldean men, are just not open and there are a lot of problems in our community (like) gambling, alcohol, drugs, marijuana, and they’ll never admit it’s a problem,” said Jeff Kassab, founding member. “Or, they won’t discuss it with anybody, because they feel we’re Middle-eastern men and we don’t open up to people like that. Well, we wanted to address these issues and realized we needed a Spiritual Director, so we approached Fr. Pierre and he’s was really gung-ho about it. So with his support and the support of Bishop Francis, we tried it.” With a Spiritual Director in place, the founders decided to meet and discuss the Jeff Kassab, Fr. Ben Luedtke, and Bashar Kirma importance of making the group inviting, and without pressure, so that the men would feel comfortable. “It was literally over dinner and we asked, ‘what can we do for three, we thought that this could be repetitious, so the men in our community?’ We wanted to make we looked at how we could change it up and to it masculine and not complicated, but very, very get guys to continue to come,” Kassab said. “We simple,” explained Fr. Pierre. “You’re not going to thought after the meeting, when we have some sobe asked a question or called upon to talk, so it’s cial time, we’d bring in some food and drink that’s more to encourage and challenge your faith, and to donated with the help from the community. It’s a hear a topic that is relevant to you and your life.” great fellowship night and it’s quality time for men That dinner was just more than a year ago and to discuss things that are bothering us. We always since that time, the group has flourished. “At our reinforce to the men that we are there to empower first conference, we had about 50 men and it was each other in this spiritual battle we are in.” guys that already come to church and our own The founders original intention was to also group of friends that we reached out,” explained encourage men to form their own, smaller groups, Kassab. “But in a year and half, this will be our that would meet every other month. On the odd seventh one, we’ve had up to about 150 men. So, months, when they didn’t meet, everyone would definitely the holy spirit has been working.” come together for a Genesis 4:9 Men’s Group conThe name, Genesis 4:9 Men’s Group, comes ference. from the bible and specifically the passage, “Am I “The overall goal for the group was for men to my brother’s keeper?” “You are your brother’s keepcreate their own prayer groups,” said Fr. Pierre. “It’s er,” said founding member Bashar Kirma. “Whethimportant for every Christian to do something outer by blood or by close friendship that’s developed, side of Sunday mass and for men, it can easier and brotherhood is more. So, you may not know it and more comfortable to invite others to your house

for dinner and conversation. For the boots on the ground guy, he can host a men’s group at his house and can be really active in his faith and active in inviting others to Jesus.” The Genesis 4:9 Men’s Group helps members, who are interested in hosting one of the smaller groups, but aren’t sure where to start. “A lot men aren’t sure how to do it, so the first one we’ll help them set up,” explained Kassab. “I helped someone last month, and there was only three of them, but they weren’t sure what to do, so I told them I’d be over to help. And I explained that this isn’t what you have to do, but that these were suggestions, and you need to do wherever the spirit takes you that day.” Although the conferences were the catalyst, the founders saw that more could be achieved in these smaller groups. “We are more about starting that prayer group than we are about the men’s conference,” explained Kassab. “Because that prayer group is something that’s special between a group of guys. They can sit at home, in a comfortable place, and discuss things and pray. That hour, hour and half, alone I think is a big in our community.” The reaction and success seen in these smaller groups have been a welcomed surprise. “What we’re really seeing is the fruit is not in the big men’s conference, but in the smaller, private gatherings that are happening,” said Kirma. “Men are thanking us for the help starting their own group. They feel it’s been beneficial because they can resolve real issues. The life changing moments, and we’ve seen them, have happened in these private group meetings.” One of the springboards in forming Genesis 4:9, was a book written by Fr. Larry Richards called, “Be A Man.” In the book, Fr. Richards talks about being the man that God created us to be. “In commercials and in the media, the man is portrayed as the weaker person, unintelligent and has no idea what to do,” said Kirma. “Just name the show and you see the man as the joke, and Fr. Larry’s book goes against that. Men have forgotten how to be men, and on top of that, men have forgotten how to be men of God, so I think it was a very instrumental book.” The next conference will be on Friday, March 17th and a dynamic speaker is scheduled to speak. “For our next conference, we got connected with another mens’ group from the Latin church called, Invictus Christi, so we have Darren O’Brien from that group that will come and speak to us,” said Kassab. “So, we’re excited.” Men should remember that you won’t receive any pressure from the group and that you need only to bring an interest in the role your faith plays in your life. “There’s no string attached,” said Fr. Pierre. “You’re not signing up for anything. You can come one month and not come the next. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere and they should be encouraged that men of their faith care about them and want them to have a deep relationship with Jesus.”

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honored by the chamber T

he Chaldean American Chamber of ComThis year’s Humanitarian of the Year awardmerce has three award winners this year. The winner is St. John’s Providence Health System. awards are for Business Person of the Year, The nomination was submitted by Dr. Nahid Humanitarian of the Year, and a special tribute award Elyas and the Chaldean American Association for for work in aiding the Iraqi American Community. Health Professionals (CAAHP). The CAAHP’s This year’s Business Person of the Year awardnomination was seconded by Saif Kasmikha from winner is Victor Saroki. The Business Person of Midwest Legal Partners, LLC. the Year award spotlights individuals who are “good The Humanitarian Award spotlights communicorporate citizens.” They must be a distinguished ty members or organizations that have also shown business community member or organizations who exemplary service to the Chaldean community has provided service to the Chaldean community in areas that improve the Chaldean community’s in areas that improve the Chaldean community’s health and wellness, image and representative health and wellness, image and representative voice in the United States and/or abroad. voice in the United States and/or abroad. In the letters received, it was noted that, “St. Saroki was nominated by Michael Romayo John Providence (SJP) is committed to delivering and Raad Kathawa. In their letter to the Chamcompassionate, personalized care to all with special ber, they noted that, “Mr. Saroki has done the architectural and interior design work for the Shenandoah Country Club, St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church, the Chaldean Community Foundation building, and is currently working with Bishop Emeritus Ibrahim in the design of the Bishop’s Library. Mr. Saroki is a man of his word. He is trust-worthy, hard-working, and client-centered. His dignified presence and speech add credibility to any organization to which he belongs. Mr. Saroki gives the Chaldean Community a positive face to the greater population in Southeast Michigan.” Victor Saroki, FAIA, is the president of Victor Saroki Almanhal Al Safi Saroki Architecture, an award-winning architecture and interiors firm in Birmingham, Michigan, since 1983. He was admitted to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2000 and with over 30 years in business, the firm has earned more than 60 design awards including the AIA Michigan Firm of the Year in 2007. A graduate of the College of Architecture & Deattention to persons living in poverty and those sign at Lawrence Technological University, Saroki most vulnerable. This philosophy of care underreceived a Bachelor of Science in 1979, a Bachelor scores their heritage as a faith-based health system of Architecture in 1980, and was conferred an Honoffering patients so much more than medicine.” orary Doctorate of Architecture in 2008. Focusing It was also noted that, “each year St. John on the firm, he oversees all of the diverse work with Providence provides an estimated $200 million in projects including retail, hospitality, mixed-use, uncompensated care to our community annually. multiple residential, and custom residential. Through partnerships, coalitions, and program deExtending his expertise to the community, he has velopment and support, St. John Providence has served as a past board member with the America’s created innovative programs to increase access to Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Birmingham Comhealthcare services and empower individuals to munity House, and the Birmingham YMCA. Saroki make informed health choices. The Chaldean currently serves on the Board of Trustees at LTU and community has benefited greatly from programs is past president of AIA Michigan and AIA Detroit. and efforts of St. John Providence to make our He also serves on the Board of Directors for the community a healthier and better place.” Chaldean Community Cultural Center. To ensure culturally competent care of the Saroki and his wife, Michelle, started the firm Chaldean community, St. John Providence (SJP) together in 1983, and Michelle still plays an active provides or sponsors numerous programs and serrole in marketing the firm. They currently live in vices, within the hospital setting, and in the ChalBirmingham and have two children: Alex is an asdean community. This outreach includes the sociate architect at the firm, and Adriana attends sponsorship of two weekly radio programs that the University of Michigan. highlight health topics using various Chaldean and 28


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other highly quality SJP physicians and clinicians. These shows have been instrumental in increasing the community’s awareness and understanding of practicing preventive health. In recent years, SJP has made available in-patient services to the Chaldean patients and their families that includes, Middle Eastern food options on the menu, Arabic TV channels in patient rooms, Arabic signage throughout Oakland Hospital, and MARTI, which is an electronic mobile translation services for the patients with language limitations. SJP has hosted an annual cultural diversity day with employees to educate them on the Chaldean culture. As the baby-friendly designated health system, SJMOH established a mom-to-mom support group and breast feeding classes for Chaldean women. This project promotes breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. St. John Macomb Oakland Hospital has established a prenatal and child birth education classes, specifically aimed to pregnant women and mothers in the Chaldean community. SJP has also provided mental health services through Eastwood Clinics, which are geared towards treatment of recent immigrants who may have post and premigration challenges. St. John Providence has worked tirelessly to help the Chaldean community both locally and abroad. They have been the only health system who has donated time, staff, services and money to ensure local projects can be successfully implemented to help the community. They donate $75,000 of lab work yearly to support Project Bismutha, which is a program that provides free medical care to low income and indigent members of the Chaldean community. They have partnered with MERCI (Medical Emergency Relief for Christian Iraqis) in providing medical services and supplies to the displaced Iraqi Christians. They work to promote education for both the Chaldean layperson and Chaldean medical community. St. John Providence has been the major sponsor of the annual Chaldean American Association for Health Professionals (CAAHP) CME conference since its inception. The annual event educates clinicians on innovations in health care, which has a direct correlation with the provision of high quality care. St. John Providence also sponsors community teaching events to help patients communicate with their medical providers, understand their condition, medications and treatment, as well as refer patients to resources within the community. They have also partnered with CAAHP to sponsor an annual health screening program at the local churches to promote preventive care. The third awardee recognized is Almanhal Al Safi, the Consul General for Iraq in Detroit. He received a special tribute from the Chamber for his work in aiding the Iraqi American Community.


There are special numbers that we always look forward to. We picked them. We own them. We love them. We play them. They’re our Daily 3&4 numbers. Try your luck on Michigan Lottery Daily 3&4 games. Daily 3 wagers are 50¢ and $1, and you can win up to $500; a $1 wager for Daily 4 has a top prize of $5,000. Drawings are twice a day, seven days a week at 12:59 pm and 7:29 pm. So, visit your favorite Lottery retailer and play Daily 3&4.

Odds of winning: Daily 3: Straight: 1 in 1,000; 3-Way Box: 1 in 333; 6-Way Box: 1 in 167; 1-Off Straight: 1 in 1,000; 1-Off One Digit: 1 in 167. Daily 4: Straight: 1 in 10,000; 4-Way Box: 1 in 2,500; 6-Way Box: 1 in 1,666; 12-Way Box: 1 in 833; 24-Way Box: 1 in 416; 1-Off Straight: 1 in 10,000; 1-Off One Digit: 1 in 1,250. Knowing your limits is always the best bet. Call the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline for confidential help at 1-800-270-7117.

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ARTS & entertainment

Artistic Therapy BY WEAM NAMOU


lways having been drawn to service and art, Cassidy Kassab found a way to naturally combine her two passions into the career of art therapy. The 25-year-old Michigan native received her BA in Studio Art from Oakland University and is currently working on her MA in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “You can use art in the healing profession,” Kassab said. Art therapy is a method of psychotherapy, involving the encouragement of free self-expression, through painting and other artistic ways. Clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use the creative process and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in though they didn’t fully art therapy is to improve or understand it. restore a client’s function“Eventually, they undering and his or her sense of stood that it’s a counseling well-being. profession,” she said. “It’s “People don’t go into important to acknowledge this field to make money,” that our Chaldean Assyrian she said. “They go into it Babylonian ancestors have because it’s truly who they an extensive history of an are, it’s a calling. You have art practice. It’s unfortunate to want to serve people.” that art is not as respected Although contemporary Cassidy Kassab or as valued in our culture, art therapy is a fairly new and in a lot of cultures, not practice, art has been used just in the Middle East. since the beginning of human hisThat’s because art is a luxury.” tory as a medium for communicating She explained that when people thoughts and ideas. The oldest cave come from Iraq to the United States, painting was found in El Castillo cave for instance, their life’s circumstancin Cantabria, Spain and dates back es cause them to focus on ways they 40,000 years to the Aurignacian pecould feed and support their famriod. Though researches are uncertain ily, raise their children and put them as the exact purpose of the cave drawthrough college. Those who finally ings, it has been theorized that they have the opportunity to go to college, were likely used as part of religious will often choose careers that will ceremonies or to reach out to others help support their family. in the area. But Kassab points out that, regardThe youngest of four children, less of the vocation one chooses, creKassab was born in Rochester to ativity is an important skill than can Sam and Faye. Being open-minded increase one’s IQ, helps calm the brain, and having a healthcare business and has many other beneficial factors. themselves, her parents were very According to Hennessey & Amasupportive of her career choice, albile (2010), creativity is a concept 30


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Clockwise from top left: Passion; Padre Pio; Sacred Heart; Art on display; Agnus Dei.

of individual differences, which is intended to explain why some people have higher potential to provide new solutions to old problems than others. It leads people to change the way they think about things and is conceived as the driving force that moves civilization forward. Kassab’s main passion is digital media and graphic illustration, but she also works with mixed media including ink, watercolor, oil, and acrylic paint. She works heavily with religious and spiritual concepts, as well as political and human rights activism. Her most recent body of work is entitled Building Relationship where she created a survey and submitted it to all the therapists and clients at DePaul Family and Community Services, asking them, “What is it that helps you feel connected to your client or therapist?” The therapists and clients responded similarly. Their main interests in having a strong relationship included comfort, humor, understanding and empathy, strength and perseverance together, and affirmation and validation. Kassab said the most challenging part of art therapy is burnout, which

happens with a lot of mental health professionals. “You’re not only using your mind and skills, but all of your senses to deliver a service,” she said. “It can at times be emotionally draining, so I learned to take care of myself in a very intense way in order to constantly be available, with compassion, toward those I work with.” Kassab plans to return to her community in Michigan, after she graduates this May, and start a type of arts ministry. “I’m interested in creating a program for refugees and doing traumabased work for children and adolescence,” she said. “When you are dealing with trauma, it’s very difficult to assimilate to a new country based on what you experienced.” To serve this community best, she wants to learn Arabic and Sureth so she can better communicate with the refugees. “They say that if you can understand poetry in another language, you can provide therapy,” she said. “That’s because if you can understand the nuances of the poem, then you can understand the nuances of another culture.”

chaldean on the STREET

What do you think of President Trump giving Christians Priority Status? President Trump’s decision on immigration has caused some controversy and there have been strong opinions from many communities around the country. We caught up with members of our community to get their reaction.

Dillon Sana, 24, Ann Arbor: I truly believe that one cannot make generalizations about any group of people for any reason, this includes religion. If Trump wants to secure our borders and make the immigration process safer, then he should impose the “temporary ban” on ALL immigrants coming to the country. Evil can come from anywhere, regardless of religion.

Azal Arabo, 20, White Lake: As a Chaldean I can appreciate the president making our people a priority. I love that he’s looking out for Catholics but being that Isis has killed more muslims than Catholics, I think it should be an even ratio of muslims to Catholics because they are also seeking refuge from Isis. People are people despite their religion.

Noor Matti, 32, Erbil, Iraq: Depleting our population from its homeland is not a long term solution. If President Trump wants to help our people, then empower us in our own lands, so that our ethnicity, language, churches don’t disappear.

Ranna Abro, 29, Rochester Hills: Giving Christians priority status is definitely not a fair policy and neither is favoring African Americans and other minorities into universities through Affirmative Action. It’s called positive discrimination. It’s an unfortunate policy, but the courts deem it necessary because racism exists. Though the circumstances are different, are we generalizing and assuming Islamic extremism by giving Christians priority status? Yes, we are. It’s not right. However, there is no denying that Christians are being marginalized and discriminated against all over the Middle East, and this unfortunate policy may be necessary to be fair.

Matt Seba, 21, Troy: I feel as though Trump’s prioritization of Christian’s in war-ridden countries can lead towards further discrimination of other victimized minorities. Yes, it is wonderful that he recognizes the Christians and I do agree something should be done to protect them from further suffering, but I still do not believe the administration has a firm grasp on differentiating Christians from other religious groups. The focus should be on eliminating the radical islamists so that our families in the homeland can live, work, and pray in peace. I look forward to a Trump presidency built on strength, security, and success.

Matthew Marroki, 17, Sterling Heights: I recognize the danger many Christian refugees are facing; however, this does not justify ignoring others in need of safety. This type of policy endangers the lives of thousands of Muslim refugees, and it also poses a threat to the American people. The rhetoric our president has been using only fuels ISIS with ammunition for recruiting supporters. I fear that if he continues this type of speech, we will further escalate the issue and it will lead to more ISIS terror attacks on US soil and abroad. As Christians, we should be empathetic to all of the people involved who seek safety, not just those of the same faith.

Samer Paulus, 22, Phoenix, Arizona: President Trump giving priority to Christian refugees in no way, shape or form resembles religious discrimination towards Muslims. Rather, it simply gives priority to a group of people who are being persecuted to a greater degree (Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today). Furthermore, the religion of Islam holds deeply many views that are incompatible with our western values, which are based on Judeo-Christian principles. Progressive politics is based on collectivism, regarding people as members of groups (religion, race, gender) rather than as individuals, with virtue being based on the extent of oppression. Since they are a minority, Muslims are perceived by progressives to be more oppressed, and thus more virtuous, and this is the source of the fictional immigration controversy that exists.

Wisam Naoum, 28, Sterling Heights: No one can dispute the fact that our people have suffered tremendously at the hands of Islamic extremism. And it certainly makes sense that victims of genocide, namely Suraye and Yazidis, would get preferential treatment in cases of asylum. But, when you package this type of “preference” with what looks and smells like a ban on Muslims, it becomes problematic. Frankly, turning away desperate refugees fleeing war and death because of their religion just doesn’t sit well with me. After all, I was taught to treat others with the same compassion and love that I would hope to receive in my time of need. MARCH 2017


ECONOMICS and enterprise

Brothers Bring Spark to Electrical Contracting Business BY PAUL NATINSKY


ixing business with brotherhood has been a recipe for success for electrical contractors David and Derek Curioca. The brothers joined 15 years ago to launch DC Illuminations from a 1,200-square-foot house in Keego Harbor and now employ more than 30 electricians, an office staff of 4 individuals, a warehouse manager, and 16 trucks to service more than 2,000 customers from their Sylvan Lake location. “We built the company with word of mouth, and no advertising,” said Derek. “This is first generation company built from scratch. I’m the Electrician and my brother David is the back office and business guy. We grew and never advertised.” Still, it was tough going at first. In 2002, the brothers started out calling people they knew to solicit small jobs and build trust. They grew slowly and had some difficult stretches early on. “We eventually hired a few employees and got another truck, but it was not easy,” said David. “There were many weeks when we did not take paychecks in order to pay our employees. Now, we laugh about it.” Finally, about four years in, they had enough business to leave the Keego Harbor house and move into an industrial park in Sylvan Lake. When they joined in business, the brothers came from very different places. Derek began working as an electrician when he was 20, putting in 8,000 hours to earn his Journeyman’s designation and another 4000 hours to become a Master Electrician. Meanwhile, David, who has a degree in finance, worked at the Morgan Stanley investment firm for five years. The brothers say there was no, one, watershed moment that brought them together in business. “First off, we have always been very close,” said Derek. “We 32


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hang out outside of work and are great at reading each other’s mind. We’re able to criticize and correct each other without getting mad about it, because we know it’s all for the betterment of the company.” The pair share an office with side-by-side desks. David still spends most of his time in the office. He manages the back-end business functions, assigning service calls to employees and heads up the Parking lot lighting division. He also makes time to meet with customers, which puts him in the field from time to time. “David knows what it takes to grow a company, manage relationships and handle finances,” said Derek. Derek logs about one to two days in the office preparing estimates per week, and spends the rest of his time working in the field, with foremen and with customers. “Derek can wire up a house or commercial building with his eyes closed,” said David. “He is a great people person.” The company provides a full range of services. Derek says project range from simple residential

wiring to commercial projects that include office buildings, hotel and high-rise buildings and shopping centers. In 2007, Derek said, the company scored a hotel, which proved to be one of the company’s first really big jobs. He said he and his crew worked until 2 or 3 a.m. for weeks at a time, and worked nearly 75 days straight on the project. But such dedication has paid off. David said once ensconced in the industrial park, the company moved three times into bigger spaces to accommodate its growth. And they show no signs of slowing down. The brother attribute their success to the company motto which says, “Customers first and to do whatever you can to please the customer.” DC Illuminations is located at 2671 Sylvan Lake Road, in Sylvan Lake. They can be reached by phone at (248) 681-6458, online at or by email at




5600 WALNUT LAKE ROAD, WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICHIGAN 48323 SPECIAL GUESTS Ambassador Fareed Yasseen, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq along with several other local, national and international dignitaries. HONORING Humanitarian of the Year St. John Providence Business Person of the Year Victor Saroki President of Saroki Architecture

Victor Saroki

Almanhal Al Safi

Special Tribute Almanhal Al Safi Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Detroit OPENING REMARKS Honorable Rick Snyder Governor, State of Michigan (invited)



Paul Jonna The Taubman Company

Dr. Nahid Elyas St. John Providence

William R. Wild Mayor of Westland, 2017 SEMCOG Regional Ambassador, US Conference of Mayors Michigan Ambassador and Board of Directors for the Michigan Municipal Risk Authority

EVENT TICKETS $175 per person $1,500 for a table of 10 Several sponsorship opportunities

Mark Sarafa Pop Daddy Popcorn

HOST COMMITTEE Jason Abro Ian Bolton Eman Jajonie-Daman Matt Loria Vanessa Mona


For sponsorship information contact Mary at 248-996-8340 or

DOCTOR is in

Halitosis: Beyond bad breath


alitosis is simply dethat are collectively called fined as bad breath. “Volatile sulphur-containAmongst existing ing compounds”. These are patients, it is a strong motithe compounds responsible vator for acceptance of denfor bad breath. tal treatment, particularly In periodontally healthy in the area of periodontal patients, the primary cause (gum) disease which is of malodor is the surface known to be a major source of the tongue, because the of halitosis. coating on it contains dead DR. MAYCE It is thought that disorepithelial cells, bacteria, KACHI-GEORGE ders of the oral cavity cause and food debris. In patients SPECIAL TO THE up to 85% to 90% of all the CHALDEAN NEWS with periodontal disease, the cases of halitosis. Some of pockets around the teeth the more common causes are: a dry have proven to be an additional resermouth due to lack of flow of saliva, voir for odor producing bacteria. denture wearing, food retention, To manage halitosis, the followpoor oral hygiene, dental decay, ing steps are recommended: gingivitis, gum disease, an unclean Improve oral hygiene techniques: tongue, and smoking. Most of the in addition to conventional brushing previously mentioned conditions and flossing, daily irrigation of the have one thing in common: an inoral tissues with an alcohol-free and crease in bacteria in the oral cavity. sugar-free rinse, along with tongue These bacteria produce compounds scraping is recommended. Tongue


de-plaquing (scrapping) is best achieved through the use of implements designed exclusively for use on the tongue rather than brushes designed for teeth.

Control Periodontal (gum) disease. Perform all necessary dental care: restore all existing areas of decay, closing open contacts between teeth, extracting all non-restorable teeth, correcting defects like overcon-

toured fillings and crowns that are impossible to clean. Increase salivary flow: through eating smaller meals (snacks) more frequently, drinking water, chewing sugarless gum. Special home care instructions for denture and partial wearers: it is important to rinse the appliances after every meal. A good cleaning should be done at least once in the afternoon, and then prior to soaking them in a disinfecting solution for the evening. Dentures and partials should never be worn during sleep when salivary flow is decreased for it will enhance the process that causes bad breath. Here’s to wishing you all a minty fresh smile! Cheers! Dr. Mayce Kachi-George is a dentist from Enamel Dental Studio, in Farmington Hills.


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Tell them you saw it in the Chaldean News!


1. Cassidy Najor, Grace Saroki, Madelin Suroweic, Grace Shina inside the Ancient Mesopotamia Gallery (left to right) 2. 8th Graders, parents with teachers Courtney Nixon and Kimberly Kerwin pose at the entrance of the museum 3. Ashtyn Loussia and his grandmother looking at a depiction of Telkaif



4. Sr. Nada explains a photo of Alquosh to students Kristen Suero and Chloe Kilano 5. Mary Romaya takes students on a tour 6. Anthony Hakim and Angelo Yono read about an exhibit 7. Kaya Sanan talks to students on the tour with Mary Romaya 8. Delilah Coe and Avery Swickard read about the history of Chaldeans

3 4


9. Sr. Neda next to an exhibit that depicts everyday life in Telkaif during that time period 10. Yousif Yatooma, Ms. Courtney Nixon, Merell Jwaida, Anthony Hakim, Katie Kim, Mrs. Kimberly Kerwin, Danny Scott and Angelo Yono









MARCH 2017

St. Fabian Catholic School 8th graders with a few of their parents and teachers Courtney Nixon and Kimberly Kerwin were the first group of students to visit the Chaldean Cultural Center set to open to the public soon. They were the test tour group who walked through the museum and were given a tour by Executive Director Mary Romaya. Also, Kaya Sanan from Sanan Media gave a brief presentation and talked to the students about their interest in the museum and their feedback about the exhibits. The Chaldean Cultural Center is located inside Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield Michigan. The cultural center was featured on the cover the 2016 December issue of the Chaldean News.

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Chaldean News March 2017  
Chaldean News March 2017