‘Jewish Schindler,’ amid skepticism, insists his Yazidi rescue efforts are for real

JTA reports: Skepticism is rising over the Montreal businessman dubbed the “Jewish Schindler” for purportedly rescuing Yazidi and Christian women and children from ISIS in Iraq.

Steve Maman has earned worldwide praise for his efforts to save 128 people.

But in a statement released Wednesday, the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, or FRRME, rejected Maman’s assertion that the Rev. Canon Andrew White, its founding president, has been “instrumental” in the success of Maman’s group, the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq, or CYCI.

Some reports “have inaccurately made a connection between CYCI’s activities, as publicized by Mr. Maman,” the statement by the United Kingdom-based FRRME said. But while Maman is a “personal contact” of White who has supported CYCI’s aims, “FRRME does not collaborate with CYCI either financially or in terms of practical assistance.”

Similarly, the CICY website says that rescued girls are sent to a displaced persons camp run by White in Kurdistan, but the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has denied such a camp exists. [Continue reading…]

Vice News reports: A group of Yazidi spiritual and political leaders, activists, and aid workers are demanding an inquiry into the work of a Montreal man who claims to have rescued 128 Yazidi and Christian women and children enslaved by Islamic State militants.

Steve Maman has attracted international attention for his Canadian non-profit group, The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI), which on its website claims to have “single handedly helped save over 120 Yazidi and Christian women and children from ISIS [Islamic State, or IS] controlled territories in Iraq” through a network of volunteers. Headlines affectionately dubbed the Moroccan-born Jew and luxury car and crystal dealer the “Jewish Schindler.”

As of Tuesday, a GoFundMe page he set up in early July had swelled to more than $580,000 from donors around the world.

But now, concerned members of the Yazidi community in Iraq and the United States — including their top spiritual leader Baba Sheikh — have issued a written statement calling on Maman to cease taking donations until he proves that he’s doing the work he says he’s doing. [Continue reading…]

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