A Canadian Jewish businessman who spearheaded efforts leading to the rescue of 120 Christian and Yazidi girls from the hands of their ISIS captors is expanding his efforts so the public can help.
Steve Maman founded the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq because he said he could not let their torment continue. He sought money from Jewish business acquaintances and put together Iraqi negotiators to broker deals to rescue the girls. Maman’s efforts were inspired by the work of Oskar Schindler, who craftily rescued around 1,200 Jews from the Nazis by putting them to work in his factories. Now, the liberation charity has a GoFundMe page so the public can help in the rescue efforts.
“I said to myself, I cannot and will not stand idle,” Maman wrote. “I will not look at the daily reports and stay passive,” Maman said in an interview with the British Catholic publication The Tablet.
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Many of the girls were taken to be sex slaves and have already been raped many times, Maman said. The negotiators are on-the-ground in the Middle East and work out the price that must be paid for the girls’ release. The price is expensive, with each child costing between $1,000 to $3,000 to remove them from ISIS, Maman said. He said the businessmen who have been funding the effort have been “remarkably generous,” but there are so many children to rescue that it now requires a public effort. Maman said there is nothing so valuable than to save a child.
“We, as avid consumers, spend that money on gadgets and tools. Why not spend that money to SAVE A LIFE?” Maman said.
Although many have compared Maman to Schindler, the businessman said he does not feel heroic. Instead, he feels like he isn’t doing enough. He wants to do more to rescue every kidnapped child.
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“As I was always taught: ‘One who saves a life, saves a world,’” Maman added.
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