Thursday, August 18, 2011
Some members of El Cajon’s Chaldean community say they’re saddened and devastated by the federal raid and crime ring that shook their neighborhood.
A Chaldean group in El Cajon is at the center of a federal criminal investigation involving the trafficking of drugs, guns and explosives. The group is also tied to a Mexican drug cartel and the Chaldean Organized Crime Syndicate, a criminal group founded in the 1980s in Detroit, Michigan.
Camilia Sadik, an active member of the Chaldean community and founder of an English spelling school and neighborhood newspaper, said she's shocked and devastated by the news.
"That means we have to work harder – those of us who care, who are educated, who are human beings," she said, tearfully, "It’s really, it’s so sad. I have to keep going. I cannot stop anymore. I cannot take a break. This is how I feel.”
Sadik said young people who come to the community as refugees are easily influenced by money.
“They try hard as far as working and everything else and then they turn to selling drugs," said Sadik.
Since the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq in 2003, millions of Chaldean Iraqis have fled the country. Approximately 35,000 Chaldeans have settled in the El Cajon area -- the nation's second largest site for the refugees.
The Iraqi Christians used to be persecuted in their country during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Today they're threatened by terrorists in the Muslim-dominated nation.
Sadik hopes Chaldean leaders will see the arrests as a wake-up call and work together to provide more support and direction for the youth.
"And we need to help them out. Our community needs to tell them, 'you don’t have to be intimidated by the wealthy because you’re better, you know, you’re educated.'”