Chaldean Bishop Frank Kalabat carries a monstrance Aug. 1 as he leads nearly 1,000 Chaldean Catholics outside Mother of God Chaldean Church in Southfield, Mich., in praying for for persecuted Iraqi Christians. The new bishop, who heads the Chaldean Eparc hy of St. Thomas the Apostle in West Bloomfield, MIch., called on the international community to recognize as genocide Muslim extremists' violence against Iraqi Christians. CNS photo/Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic

U.S. Chaldeans rally in support of Iraq Christians

By  Mike Stechschulte, Catholic News Service
  • August 6, 2014

DETROIT - Shouting slogans such as “Obama, Obama, where are you? Iraqi Christians need you!” and “Stop the violence in Iraq!” about 150 protest-ers marched through the streets of downtown Detroit Aug. 1 to call awareness to the violent persecution of Christians in their native land.

Later in the day, nearly 1,000 more gathered at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield for a prayer vigil led by Chaldean Bishop Francis Kalabat, who shared a similar message.

Most of the protesters were Chaldeans, or Christians of Iraqi descent, and were there because of what many called ignorance on the part of the media and others in responding to the humanitarian crisis.

“Christians are being kicked away from their country, and no one is protecting them,” said Noor Mattr, one of the protesters who helped co-ordinate the rally. “Christians do not take up arms like other groups, so they take action with their feet and just leave.”

Mattr said his grandmother lived in Mosul, Iraq, where Christians have recently been forced to flee their homes after the militant Islamic State has given an ultimatum: Convert to Islam, pay a huge tax or be killed.

The Islamic State, or ISIS, proclaimed the creation of a new “caliphate,” or state run by a religious leader, after thousands of militants seized control of large parts of eastern Syria and northern and central Iraq in June. Since then, militants have released videos on Facebook and other social media showing mass executions of Christians and other Iraqis.

Ashor Khairon, another protester in Detroit, called the situation “genocide” and expressed frustration at the lack of action on the part of the United States and the international community.

“We’re praying, but the prayers aren’t enough,” said Khairon. “We need support from all over the world, especially the U.S.A... I don’t know what they’re waiting for.”

A protester who identified herself as Nidal, but didn’t want to give her last name, said the sight of people being slaughtered in online videos should be enough to cry for support, but few have taken notice.

“I have never seen so much gore. This war is right on Facebook. Every single day there are mass killings of innocent people as the world watches,” she said. “This is worse than Hitler because people are just standing on the sidelines. The Obama administration hasn’t done anything.” 

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Obama, one of them.

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.