- Jan 20, 2021
Clarence Dass, an attorney representing many Iraqi Christians the U.S. government wants deported deported, said he was “ecstatic” over a court decision delaying the order. “When your life is on the line, each day is a victory. And in this case, 14 days,” Dass said. “We now have the breathing room to ensure that every individual detained has the proper motions filed and, ultimately, a chance to be heard. The work continues.”
Recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq have led to the deportation of more than 100 Chaldean Christians who were residing in the country, leading the Catholic bishops to write a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security urging him to halt the arrests.
“On a practical level, this is mind-boggling,” said Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer who runs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. She can’t think of a safe destination for the Chaldeans in Iraq. “The director of Homeland Security — does he know that there has been a genocide declared there by the United States? Had anyone told him? Does ICE know this?”
Rome’s Pontifical Irish College celebrated Holy Trinity Mass in the memory of Father Ragheed Ganni, a former resident. In 2007, the 35-year-old Iraqi priest was shot to death by Islamic militants. Also killed were three subdeacons: Basman Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid and Waheed Isho’a.
The United States House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill, the “Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act of 2017.” The proposed law would provide help and hope to suffering members of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria who have been “left out and left behind.”
In Iraq, once-flourishing Christian towns have been destroyed and vandalized by Islamic terrorism before being liberated. The Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad has encouraged a more than 80-mile peace march during Holy Week to demonstrate the bond among Iraqi communities and churches around the world.