Cablegate: Reply to Cpb Commissioner Bonner
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS VATICAN 003376
DEPT FOR EUR/PGI (IVAN WEINSTEIN), EUR/WE (JAN LEVIN)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT PREL VT IZ
SUBJECT: REPLY TO CPB COMMISSIONER BONNER
REF: SECSTATE 184111
1. (U) This is Embassy Vatican's response to reftel
concerning difficulties encoutered at U.S. ports of entry.
The most egregious recent case that has come to our attention
is that of Monsignor Philip Najim, a British citizen and the
senior representative of the Chaldean Catholic Church to the
Vatican (The Chaldean Catholic community, with ancient roots
in Iraq and Syria, now has several churches in the U.S,
particularly in Michigan and California.) Monsignor Najim, a
close Embassy contact who has met with the Ambassador on
developments in Iraq relating to the Christian community,
experienced severe problems and delay when he entered the
U.S. at JFK airport approximately two weeks ago.
2. (SBU) Monsignor Najim, (DPOB: 26 Sept 1959, Baghdad. UK
Ppt # 7032235843) senior representative of the Chaldean
Catholic Church to The Holy See, arrived at JFK on August 17.
He was requested to go to secondary, where he was made to
wait for over four hours, finally fingerprinted,
photographed and told he was subject to Special Registration
procedures. Meanwhile, Catholic officials waiting at JFK to
pick him up had no idea what had become of him. Najim is
extremely upset about the incident, and how he was treated
during the process. Some of his colleagues have suggested
approaching the media to publicize the incident as an example
of "persecution of people of Iraqi descent," but Monsignor
Najim has so far requested that they not publicize the
incident. He contacted Post from the U.S. soon after this
incident to relay his concerns.
3. (U) Post has contacted DHS representatives at Embassy Rome
regarding Monsignor Najim's case. The Chaldean Church has
been generally supportive of U.S. actions in Iraq, and has
been an important voice of moderation and religious
understanding. At a time when we are trying to build and
maintain ties with leaders of the new Iraq, this incident has
set back our relations with an important actor.
2004VATICA03376 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED