Chaldean Chamber revives push for Iraq site

Citizens State Bank owner Chris Yatooma, a member of the Chaldean Chamber, accompanied Manna to Iraq in late November to meet with a U.S. congressional delegation that included: U.S. Representatives Elissa Slotkin, Katie Porter, Colin Allred and Mark Takano, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

With a $50,000 lead gift from Yatooma, the new micro-fund has raised $100,000 from Chaldean American business leaders in southeast Michigan, Manna said.

The chamber created a “Products of Nineveh” label to help promote products and goods produced in the remaining Chaldean villages in northern Iraq, and plans to promote and sell those products to the diaspora community, including those living in Michigan, he said. community.

It is also in talks with the Iraqi government to see if it can create a sister city or sister state environment.

“Once we open the office, it will help us accelerate our efforts,” Manna said.

Manner said he joined the U.S. congressional delegation to advocate for U.S. policies that protect Chaldeans, Yazidis and other minorities in Iraq and support them by helping to create administrative regions with local governance and policing.

Annual congressional delegation travel plans start next year, Manna said.

“It’s great to see firsthand what American policy has created,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it was the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that caused a significant decrease in the Chaldean population there… because of the lack of security in the country and religious extremism targeting religious minorities like the Chaldeans who are considered allies of the West. “

Manna said the delegation visit can demonstrate how U.S. policy can help maintain and strengthen these minority populations.

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