Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA)

The situation continues to be perilous and heartbreaking for Iraq’s Christians. Two thousand and ten was particularly shocking with the October 31 massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Syriac Catholic Church in Baghdad. Islamic fundamentalists stormed the church during Sunday services and murdered 58 worshipers, including two priests. Scores were injured in the brutal attack. The chamber is one of four founding organizations supporting the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Council of America (CASCA), formed in June 2007. CASCA is a civic and social welfare organization dedicated to matters of public policy and political purpose for the common benefit of the society of Chaldean Assyrian Syriac people in Diaspora and those in their indigenous lands in the Middle East.

CASCA works at the federal and state levels to address social and political causes of urgency related to the Chaldean Assyrian Syriac peoples. It promotes and manages a unified voice to support and guide our people in Iraq, working in consultation, coordination and concert with other Chaldean Assyrian Syriac social, civic, business and political organizations and leaders throughout the United States.

In Iraq, Christians and other ethno-religious minorities represent a living heritage that dates back more than 6,700 years. When the Iraq war began, the Christian population totaled about 1 million. Today it is less than 500,000. According to conservative estimates, at least 50 percent of the Christian population has fled.

A CASCA office in Washington, DC, will be operational in 2011. Outreach work continues from the chamber office in Metro Detroit and in Chicago. A highlight in 2010 was a visit by Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) on July 6, an effective and compassionate supporter of Iraq’s beleaguered Christians. CASCA is chaired by Ismat Karmo, who participated in a mission to Iraq in November 2010. CASCA’s involvement helped achieve agreement between Iraq’s 16 Christian political parties to work together as one to establish an autonomous province in the Nineveh Plains. Such unity is crucial to the plan’s success.

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