Meknes - After replying to a letter questioning the authenticity of his humanitarian mission, Steve Maman received no feedback from its signatories, causing Maman to doubt “the credibility of this document.”
Meknes – After replying to a letter questioning the authenticity of his humanitarian mission, Steve Maman received no feedback from its signatories, causing Maman to doubt “the credibility of this document.”
Steven Maman has garnered international attention in recent weeks for his organization The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq. Dubbed “the Jewish Schindler”, Maman has worked to raise money to free children in Iraq from ISIS.
On August 26, he received a letter from several Yazidi leaders calling into question the accuracy of his claims. “To call this a request from leaders, we must be able to confirm the validity and credibility of this document, which we received without header, no email address, no cover page with information of the sender. Is it a legal document, an official letter, a real demand, does it represent all the signatories mentioned in the letter? I still doubt it,” Maman said.
However, the letter, whose signatories include Yazidi supreme spiritual leader Babasheikh Kherto Ismael and Via Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament, raised issues with the way Maman has conducted his work. “Nobody responded [to my reply] far. Even Via Dakhil, to whom we sent a reply, did not answer us,” Maman said to Morocco World News, adding that journalists will accompany him on future trips so that they can bear witness to his work.
Despite the letter, Maman continues to rescue children from ISIS. According to him, he has rescued 130 children, despite the donation obstacles his foundation met following the reactions before the public inquiry to supply proof of his work. “We were not warned; we were in full campaign. Apologies were provided after verifying our work, but it was too late. We decided to continue our actions with the resources we have left,” Maman said.
Regarding the letter from Yazidi leaders, Maman asked for more clarification on September 2. The letter reads, “All signatories to this letter welcome any legitimate assistance provided to the Yazidi community and any legitimate project that serves the health and wellbeing of the Yazidis will receive our support. However, it is imperative that any organization claiming to conduct such a high-level project, especially one that deals so visibly with such sensitive problems, recognize the need for accountability and open itself to the scrutiny of the leadership of the Yazidi community.”
Maman told Vice News on August 25 that he did not reveal the names of the 128 rescued people in order to protect their identity and preserve the integrity of his team’s work. He said that naming and listing information about the children could place them in danger, especially if such information were to be published by the media, but it is still legitimate to officially ask for facts. “My lawyer gave a reply to this on Thursday (August 27) with a supplied response, a proposal to disclose everything to a credible source, the Kurdistan office, it is offered to the president or the prime minister,” Maman said.
Vice News was the first and the only media source reporting on the August 26 letter from Yazidi leaders, which it had exclusively received and published. The week before, the media conducted an interview with Via Dakhil, who has been working with rescue issues.
Edited by Timothy Filla