A Montreal-based Jewish businessman has emerged as the saviour for some 128 Yazidi and Christian girls who were forced to live as sexual slaves under the tyrannical rule of Islamic State in Iraq.
Dubbed by media as the Jewish Schindler, Steve Maman has spent the better part of the past year raising money to secure the release of hostages kept by the ISIS.
He is believed to have paid more than $200,000 to the militants in order to free the aforementioned women from them. Moreover, he is constantly working to raise more cash to swap it with more captives in coming weeks.
Maman says he came to know of the girls' plight in the news like everyone else and then he couldn't help but do something to help them out.
“It’s a level of barbarism which was on another level of persecution,” the 42-year-old father of six said before quoting Liam Neeson's famous line from his 1993 smash hit Schindler’s List: “The Talmud teaches us, whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
With the help of Canon Andrew White, the former pastor of a Baghdadi church, he contacted negotiators and asked them what it would take for them to release their captives. He then set up a GoFundMe account and when the word got out of his noble cause, people from all over the world pitched in with their contributions.
According to estimates, the ISIS is currently holding 2,700 women as hostages and Maman has made it his mission to liberate as many as possible. Having been picked by the international press, he is hoping that his story will bring more donations which he will then use to negotiate with ISIS captors.
While Maman's initiative is certainly commendable, putting money in the hands of armed terrorists is still not the most ideal solution to the problem. The need is for the global communities to unite and launch an even fiercer military assault to rid the Iraqis of this menace once and for all.