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Appeal From His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako (Arabic version)

Appeal From His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako ( English Version)

Many faiths gather for candlelight vigil in Birmingham for Iraqi Christians

Press Release

 The Macomb Daily (



Many faiths gather for candlelight vigil in Birmingham for Iraqi Christians





In the wake of demonstrations nationwide and across the world, organizers are holding a candlelight prayer vigil for people of all faiths Thursday to bring attention to the plight of Iraqi Christians.

Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Bahais, Mendis, Buddhists and religious, community, civic and civil rights organizations are asked to join for the vigil at 7:30 p.m. in Shain Park in Birmingham, said Dr. Ramsay F. Dass, president of the American Middle East Christians Congress.

“(Faith leaders) met last week; we had 64 leaderships from the tri-county and we decided we have to start with many steps and one of the steps is to have the vigil in Shain Park,” said Dass, an M.D. who practices medicine in Oak Park.

Dass said the group is working to spread the word to all temples, churches, mosques and other community leaderships.

“Already many demonstrations took place in Macomb, Wayne, but we thought it’s time to involve the American public at large,” Dass said. “Very, very little is being said about what’s going on (in Iraq). This is a genocide (similar) to the Holocaust. ... This is a genocide in the making for the Christians and other minorities.”

Dass said he hopes the gathering will awaken the consciousness of local citizens to help. He said the aid to these people is coming very slowly as of right now.

“Here we have a large Middle East community, mostly Middle East Christians, but many other non-Middle East Christians have come to support what’s going on. You cannot empty a country of its own origin of people,” Dass said. “You cannot (get rid of a certain type of person). This is the 21st Century.”

The conflict began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, Dass said.

“After that, the Christians were the first community to take the penalty and they’ve still continued paying for it,” Dass said. “We are morally and legally obligated to help those people — we started it.”

Demonstrations have been held worldwide in recent days to bring attention to the plight of thousands of Christian Iraqis, who along with other minorities, have been displaced from their homes — causing mass death and sickness.

Iraqi militants from the Islamic State group overran a cluster of predominantly Christian villages alongside the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, sending tens of thousands of civilians and Kurdish fighters fleeing from the area so they did not face death, according to reports.

An estimated 70,000 Christians were displaced in Ankawa, where some are able to find shelter in schools and churches, said Louis Raphael Sako, the president of assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq. Others are on the street and in public parks — causing poor conditions.

In Dohuk, there are more than 60,000 refugees.

The Christian villages around Mosul up to Kurdistan are deserted.

Humanitarian needs are escalating, as there is a lack of food, water, medicine, housing and funds. Dr. Ramsey Dass of the AMECC in Oakland County, said that aid is slow.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.


© 2014 The Macomb Daily (     


The American Middle East Christians congress (AMECC) hosted a conference of unity on Fridayy, August 1, 2014 for all American Middle East church denominations and their representatives, who agreed to form an American Middle East Council of Churches and public relations committee, build bridges with other states; Middle Eastern churches, and assist Middle East Christians in their plight.


On Monday, August 4, 2014, AMECC also hosted an inter-community and inter-heritage meeting with church leadership, civic & civil organizations, and representatives from the Jewish, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Bahai, Mandain, Arab, African-American, Michigan-ADC, Iraqi Human Rights, and other communities. 


An open and frank discussion was had regarding the plight of the Christians in Iraq and other minorities, with the recommendation to have community programs that support the Iraqi Christians politically, socially, and financially, in addition to other initiatives, such as creating billboards, television and radio advertisements, and candlelight vigils.


The world's conscience has awakened. Hopefully you and your community's efforts can make a difference to help these victims by raising awareness to politicians, community members, and church leaders.


APPEAL: Please join us for an inter-religious, inter-heritage, and inter-community candlelight vigil on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 7:30P.M. at Shain Park in Birmingham, Michigan.

An urgent appeal to help Christians persecuted in Iraq

    While the world has been overwhelmed by the events in the Malaysian plane tragedy and the Israeli Palestinian conflict in Gaza, one event went unnoticed: a complete religious cleansing of Christians in the province of Mosul, Iraq. These Christians were there at the dawn of civilization and were converted to Christianity by St. Thomas the Apostle. The cleansing took place after 'they refused to convert, pay the penalty, or be executed by the Islamic State militants (ISIS). Their houses were marked with the letter “N,” the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian  - Nasrani or Nazarene — and confiscated. Their churches were demolished, Their businesses were looted. Those who fled were completely stripped of even their basic wealth, similar to the events that Jews faced by the Nazis.

    Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako and Pope Francis have  appealed to world leaders to stop this persecution and ethnic cleansing, but their, words have fallen on deaf ears.

    America and Western world governments — who are signatories to the  United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and profess to be the guardians of humanity, liberty and human rights — seemed to have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of the Iraqi Christians and- those facing similar persecution elsewhere; This dilemma has not stopped, but continues toward the rest of Iraq, where in less than 10 years, a Christian population of more than 1.5 million will only be a few hundred thousand and maybe completely eradicated. Those who believe in human rights and freedom of religion must act now.

    Otherwise, history will have repeated itself.

Ramsay F. Dass
President, American Middle East Christians Congress