DETROIT (WWJ) — As tensions in Iraq heat up, the local Chaldean community is keeping a close eye on developments.

Among the 150,000 Chaldeans in the metro Detroit area, many still have family in Iraq while others still travel there frequently.

Martin Manna, the president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, said that there has been deep concern among his community.

“We also have several members of the Chaldean Chamber who do business in Iraq,” Manna said. “Some were in Baghdad, a lot have gone to the north — we’re getting reports that many of them that were Muslim now are in the surrounding Christian villages that are being protected by Kurdish forces.”

Manna said that his organization is in touch with the U.S. State Department as well as elected officials on a daily basis for updates on developments.

“Senator (Carl) Levin and Senator (Debbie) Stabenow have been very supportive of our position,” Manna said.

Manna is also concerned that what happened recently in Syria could happen in Iraq.

“These rebel forces are brutal — they’re the same forces in Syria that had crucified priests, beheaded some people, even raped nuns,” Manna said. “It’s just brutal acts of violence and so there’s a tremendous amount of concern.”


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