In Chaldean communities near Detroit and San Diego news of Saddam Hussein's capture spread quickly. "I spoke with my sister in Iraq first thing, and she said the gunfire I heard in the background were coming from the people who are happy," Kinaya, a deacon at Mother of God Chaldean Catholic Church in Southfield, Michigan, toldThe Detroit Free Press. "The Iraqi people are a democratic people who are now celebrating their freedom."

The Detroit area is home to about 100,000 Chaldean Christians, who saw Saddam's capture as a fitting gift as the church enters the Christmas season. "This is a great Christmas present," said Joseph Kassab, director of the Michigan chapter of the Chaldean National Congress," according to The Detroit News. An Associated Press story, which ran in several California papers reported on Chaldean reactions there. "It's a great joy for all the Iraqi people on this day, especially for Christians," said Noel Gorgis, pastor of St. Paul Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church in North Hollywood, which has a large Iraqi congregation. "We prepare ourselves for joy on Christmas, and now that joy is complete."

However the celebrations were tempered with reminders of Saddam's cruelty, from which no one was exempt. "At Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit, Khatoum Mossa, 65, said her son lost most of his right arm fighting, against his will, for the Iraqi army in the first Persian Gulf War." The Detroit Free Press writes, "Khayon Al-Tamimi, 53, who is originally from Nasiriyah, Iraq, lost his brother and nephew when both were killed after they fought in Shi'ite uprisings against Hussein. … There is not one Iraqi family who didn't lose someone," he said.

According to the Press Enterprise in Southern California, "Hussein ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

November
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
Christianity Today
Iraqi Christians Celebrate Saddam's Capture
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2003

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.