Iraqi Christians in Michigan shout down government official

Update June 5th: I see that Friends of Refugees blog has more on this story, here.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

With growing concern about the plight of Christians in their native land, local Iraqi Americans met this week with the highest-ranking State Department official in charge of Iraq policy when he made a three-day stop in Detroit.

But Michael Corbin, deputy assistant secretary of State for Iraq in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, faced an angry crowd that shouted him down during one of his meetings with Chaldeans, illustrating the frustrations many have about the perceived erosion of Christianity in Iraq and Chaldean refugees facing deportation.

Some Chaldeans approached the stage, forcing Corbin to quickly leave a Troy center Tuesday night and prompting a police response.

Later, someone from the Free Press spoke to Corbin.

QUESTION: Some local Iraqi Chaldeans say the U.S.-led invasion has caused the erosion of Christianity in Iraq. How can they be helped? ANSWER: We’ve acknowledged that mistakes were made after the invasion of Iraq. But … the Iraqi government has committed to protect churches, protect religious observances, festivals, religious holidays. This is important. These communities are vulnerable. They don’t have militias.

To the reporter: It’s not a little quirk of Chaldeans to claim that Christianity in Iraq isn’t doing so well; it’s a widely known fact, one that the Michigan Chaldeans might know a lot about.  To Michael Corbin: So what is our government is doing to protect Christians? Not much, huh?

CAIR pushes US Dept. of Education investigation into claims of harassment of Somali students

This is an update of the on-going controversy in St. Cloud, MN about alleged harassment of Somali students by white kids.  I meant to post on this last week and have additional comments, but the story is getting old and I thought I better just get it up in its bare bones form without a lot of yakking by me.   Please use our search function for St. Cloud to see our many previous posts.   See also this post about Kansas yesterday and a comment by a Somali woman who discusses the concept of  what she terms the Somali “invasion” of “villages.”   Although with an estimated population of 10,000 Somalis I’m wondering if the St. Cloud Somalis would still consider this a “village?”

From the St. Cloud Times:

The U.S. Department of Education will investigate claims of discrimination against Somali students in St. Cloud and Owatonna high schools, federal officials said Tuesday.

The investigation is in response to a complaint from the Council on American-Islamic Relations asking the department’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate claims in the two school districts. Minnesota CAIR detailed a number of incidents in St. Cloud’s high schools that they say show Somali students confront a hostile and harassing environment.

“I’m sure (the investigation) will start fairly soon. Resolution can take anywhere from a month to several months,” said Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education.

The letter the department sent to the school district asks for information related to harassment complaints involving Somalis at Technical High School and Apollo High School. It asks for a written response to the allegations and school policies on discrimination. The district has 15 days to return the information.

CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) cheers the investigation announcement.

In a statement, CAIR Minnesota, which is in St. Paul, said it welcomed the investigation.

“Our goal is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all students,” said CAIR Minnesota Civil Rights Director Taneeza Islam. “Decades after the beginning of the civil rights movement, no student should be constantly subjected to racial slurs or harassment at school.”

Hamilton said the department cannot investigate for religious discrimination. But it can investigate possible discrimination based on national origin, race or color.

Will this part of the investigation get a full review?  At least one commenter I saw didn’t think so.

The report also showed Somali students were involved in harassing behavior toward non-Somali students.

Are Palestinians from Gaza coming to the US as refugees?

That old story from two years ago is still circulating—that Obama is bringing gazillion Palestinians to the US.  Judy has corrected the rumor on several occasions most recently here in October 2009.

Last month when a reader asked me if the story was true (again!), I checked on the number of Palestinians coming to the US as refugees and wrote this post.  The numbers are increasing.

And, of course, they could still be increased further.  But, readers should remember that if we, or any country, started to resettle Palestinian Arabs in a big way (like by the tens of thousands), Arab countries would object.  They must keep their co-religionists “stateless” in order to keep pressure on Israel.  See Judy’s most recent post on the so-called Palestinian refugees here.