The Montreal Moroccan Jew who says that he and his non-profit group have
rescued 128 Yazidis and Christians from enslavement by Islamic State
(IS) militants in Iraq is fighting back against those questioning his
claims. The Forward reports:
The attorney for Steve Maman, president of the
Montreal-based group The Liberation of Yazidi and Christian Children of
Iraq (CYCI), has sent the group of Yazidi activists and spiritual
leaders that is demanding an inquiry into his claims a cease and desist
letter ordering them to stop talking to or about him — and threatening
to sue them for $5,000,000 if they don’t.
Extract from Steven Maman’s public statement:(with thanks: Michelle)
“During recent days, CYCI has been the target of accusations and
scrutiny founded on poor journalism and lack of proper research. We have
also seen deep activities of corruption within groups that claim to
protect this oppressed religious group that are the Yazidis. I would
like to publicly address the issues around this and make it known that
CYCI has nothing to hide.
– First and foremost, I believe it to
be a reckless request from the so called Yazidi representatives to
demand CYCI for proof that would compromise our channels because
identifying the victims is going to, by extension, identify the brokers
that give us this unparalleled access to these victims and result in
compromising our mission and our future ability to continue its
– The allegations made are astonishing considering
all the good will seen by CYCI, its volunteers and its avid supporters.
This seems to hint of resentment at the success and not representative
of a true expression of skepticism.
– We call on VICE News/VICE to get into contact with Non-Yazidi organizations (such as the International Committee of the Red Cross)
to whom we will disclose evidence without further publication. Once
this evidence is deemed satisfactory, we will ask Vice News to retract
or edit its previous unfounded statements.
– VICE News has
reported about a letter calling on CYCI to stop taking donations until
it proves that it is doing what it claims. Let it be known that Vice
decided to report about a letter that was not signed by any of its
claimed participants. The letter had no official letterhead either.
Basically, we received a letter lacking proper form with defamatory
statements not based on facts but on assumptions.
– A cease and
desist letter has been issued as our response. CYCI will not deal with
pressure groups – we will deal only with authorities who have
jurisdiction in the matter.”