Police in Repentigny, Que., are looking into a possible hoax after stickers promoting Islamic extremism were found stuck to a number of cars over the weekend.

Some car owners in Repentigny, which is just northeast of Montreal, were surprised to find stickers proclaiming, in French: “Quebec is Allah’s land, convert or else…”

The sticker features the logo of the Muslim Brotherhood, Arabic script and a photo of an armed man carrying what appears to be an Islamic State flag.

Local police were first made aware of the stickers on Saturday morning, and subsequently informed Quebec provincial police.

Haroun Bouazzi of The Association of Muslims and Arabs For a Secular Quebec said he doubts the threat is real.

Bouazzi said he’s never heard of any extremist groups in the area doing that kind of vandalism. He believes the vandals are simply trying to incite fear of Muslims.

“We have been seeing these fake Facebook accounts and things like that [that] show a lot of hatred,” he said.

​”It looks like a very, very bad joke. Having said that, obviously we hope police will find these people no matter who they are,” Bouazzi said.

No one has been arrested in the matter, and police are still trying to figure out whether it’s a hoax.

A spokesperson with Repentigny police said it’s the first time he’s seen such a thing.

Patrols have been stepped up in the area in an effort to prevent it from happening again.

By CBC News

When news of a Montreal businessman rescuing girls in Iraq first made headlines around the world, order Steve Maman basked in the limelight, doctor proud that he had managed to do something — something big — to fight the horror of the so-called Islamic State.

“The Jewish Schindler” the press dubbed him repeatedly, try in articles from Haaretz to Paris Match.

Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who is credited with saving 1,200 Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, is indeed one of Maman’s heroes, in whose footsteps he wanted to follow when he founded The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI) in June.

With the help of donations from the Jewish community and then the greater public, Maman says he and his team of volunteers on the ground in Iraq have rescued 130 girls and women, many of whom had been kidnapped and sold as sex slaves by the Islamic State.

Donations, on GoFundMe and then through PayPal on his website, steadily increased with the exposure, to more than $600,000 by Wednesday.

But then came more ink — this time from the Yazidi community itself — disputing the number of rescued girls and women and casting doubt on the whole operation.

In an open letter first published by Vice News last week, the top spiritual leader of the Yazidi community in Iraq, Babasheikh Kherto Ismael, as well as 19 other Yazidi leaders and activists, questioned how Maman, reportedly with only $80,000 at the time, had managed to liberate so many women and girls, when Iraqi families had to pay upward of $8,000 to rescue each of their loved ones.

They also wondered about the ethics of paying ransoms at all, when the money would surely line the pockets of ISIL fighters and motivate them to continue with their lucrative sideline.

As for Christians, the signatories to the letter, including Vian Dakhil, the only female Yazidi member of the Iraqi Parliament, said as far as they knew, no Christians had been enslaved in the area — so none could have been liberated.

“It is unclear what Christian women Steve Maman claims to be saving,” they wrote, in calling for an inquiry into CYCI’s operations and a suspension of donations.

To be sure, verifying what’s going on in ISIL-held territory is a huge challenge. Few reporters, even among the battle-hardened, dare to see for themselves.

Into that information void, Maman has offered up one journalist to confirm CYCI’s work — Sean Moore, whose credentials show him as a radio broadcaster affiliated with a station in Chatham-Kent, Ontario — and Canon Andrew White, an Anglican priest and the Vicar of Baghdad, who has started his own Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.

(At one point White paid a ransom for his own lay priest in Iraq — $40,000 — and has said he has employed up to 35 armed guards to protect himself.)

White could not be reached for comment, but in a Facebook post on Aug. 18 to his 25,000-plus followers, he praised Maman for his good work and defended the practice of paying ransoms for the girls, saying it was the only way to get them back.

“There are no more … established Christians or Yazidees that can be taken. They have already taken everybody available,” he wrote.

According to a United Nations report, in August, 2014, ISIL kidnapped an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 Yazidi women and children, 2,700 of whom are still in captivity.

The Yazidis are an ethnic and religious minority of Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan believed to number about 700,000, who have been targeted by the Islamic State in their quest to “purify” the region of non-Islamic influences.

Maman also has the backing of Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative — best known for organizing the Draw the Prophet contest in Texas — and has recruited Gill Rosenberg to help with at least one rescue operation. Rosenberg is a Canadian-Israeli woman who became the first female foreign fighter to join the Kurds in their fight against ISIS.

Rosenberg also spent four years in a U.S. prison, for scamming senior citizens out of millions of dollars.

“The question you have to ask yourselves is who should you believe?” Maman asked on Facebook. “Activists and humanitarians dedicating their lives to these peoples’ fates or certain government officials and affiliates that work from offices and airplanes? CYCI will not answer to a group of people that decided or not to put their names on a piece of paper.”

Maman has threatened legal action against his detractors, and questions the credibility of those who wrote the letter, referring broadly to power politics and corruption in Iraq.

He has also offered to address any “official question” from an authority, he added, in Iraq or Canada. He will be holding a press conference in Montreal next week, he said.

In the meantime, the Montreal Gazette met with him Wednesday in his office in Ville St. Pierre, where he sells used Harley Davidsons, to ask him a few questions of our own.

Maman shared pictures of children, videos and interviews with people on the ground in Iraq and Kurdistan who vouch for his work, including Dr. Noori Abdulrahman, listed online as the Minister for the Department of Coordination and Follow-up in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Maman also shared his thoughts on the mission to rescue girls from sexual slavery and the latest allegations against him.

Q: We’ve all been watching with horror what’s been going on inside the so-called Islamic State. But you are among very few in the West who have taken action. Was there a specific incident or report that forced you to get involved?

A: There was a report that showed children who were put in a cage, all dressed in orange, and outside of the cage stood an ISIS combatant holding a lit-up torch, threatening to burn them. This picture mimicked what ISIS had done to the Jordanian pilot. By looking at the photo, one could imagine the pain and loss, the terror these children were under.

I had already a few months prior taken Assyrian Christians out of harm’s way and sent them to Ankara. I thought I had done my share of good with that, but the picture of the children dressed in orange jumpsuits really was the pivotal moment I decided I would act.

Q: What kind of experience did you have as a Montreal businessman that allowed you to put together a team in another country and rescue women and girls who had been kidnapped?

A: I travelled the world looking for vintage cars for sale abandoned in palaces and garages. I made lots of contacts in high places. This work brought my dealership to Morocco and then to Iraq.

I also befriended a Christian Assyrian on the ground, and realized through him I could make a difference. He had contacts with the Iraq and Kurdistan governments. I used his credentials and my business sense to get funding.

Q: Your critics don’t seem to believe that you’ve actually rescued as many people as you claim. Why not provide names or other proof?

A: We have provided names, pictures and videos. They are on our website, on our Facebook page. People wish to view faces and we cannot divulge this personal information.

Imagine, you get taken and raped 250 times a year, 15 times a day. Steve Maman comes and takes you out. You don’t even have the strength to say thank you. Would you let me take your picture and show the world? I don’t want to add to their suffering.

It’s like in the Roman Coliseum. It was always sold out because people wanted to see the blood and the humiliation … Today the world sees the Jewish Schindler and thousands will be proud, but one girl whose face I didn’t blur will not be happy. But am I looking for fame or to protect these girls?

Q: Several Yazidi leaders, including the spiritual leader of the Yazidi community, have written a letter questioning the facts and the ethics of your rescue work in Iraq. What do you think is behind the skepticism?

A: Politics. It’s corruption and politics. … It’s (a group) who is trying to gain notoriety for being the saviour of the Yazidis where a Jewish man from Canada comes up and does so much more work than (they) do on the ground, where this Jewish man actually gives to the people without asking them to pay back. On the other side we have (this group of signatories) that are actually charging $8,000 per person that they bring back to the families. They used to get a kickback from the government per person and at same time are charging the family. They are getting paid twice. So Steve Maman screamed out loud to the government that they have to stop this practice that they are putting in debt people who have no shoes. So all of a sudden I have an aspiring political party that I’m humiliating for fraud and corruption on the ground.

They’re a mafia trying to get into politics by taking advantage of the plight of the Yazidi people who have lost everything.

We were specifically told by the KRG office of the president not to answer to this letter. They called it a political stunt, and said the letter is invalid.

Q: So how do you explain how you managed to save so many girls and women with so little money (about $80,000)?

A: It’s very simple — at the time when we pulled the first 100 people out of the caliphate, we only had to pay $50 to $250 each. Obviously after these children had been sold by ISIS throughout the caliphate, everybody knew the price escalated to $2,000-3,000. Prices have gone up tremendously. CYCI was incorporated in June. But this work started eight months ago.

Q: How do you respond to those who say you are funding the Islamic State by paying to rescue these girls?

A: I don’t talk to ISIS, I don’t fund ISIS, I don’t deal with ISIS. We have our CYCI team on the ground in Kurdistan, which is comprised of elite personnel. When I say elite, I mean a U.S. government-trained hostage negotiator and U.S. trained terrorism prevention personnel.

As far as motivating them to kidnap more, the caliphate is closed. You tell me how they’re going to kidnap another girl from behind the American soldiers at the border of Kurdistan. You tell me how they’re going to get girls inside Iran if they want to expand to the east. What about to the south? There’s the Iraqi army and the U.S. army that are amassed around the border of the caliphate. You really think a 30,000-strong army with four or five different armies surrounding them are able to do anything more? They’re not able to conquer anymore. It’s the end of the expansion. So don’t tell me I’m creating a market that’s emerging.

Q: Your fundraising campaign on GoFundMe has been suspended out of concerns over its legitimacy. How will your work be affected if GoFundMe no longer provides a platform for it?

A: We closed the GoFundMe campaign. We started it to get noticed, but our funds went up so quickly and we were paying a seven-per-cent commission. So when they froze the campaign to investigate (after a complaint by RINJ — Rape Is No Joke) we moved it to our website and PayPal. Now we pay 1.5 per cent. Since the letter came out, we’re raising more money than ever.

By The Montreal Gazette

Hate crimes against London’s Jewish minority have surged over the last 12 months with an increase of 93.4% according to figures from the Metropolitan police. In the 12 months from July 2014, police recorded 499 anti-Semitic crimes in London compared with 258 in the same period the preceding year. The boroughs worst affected were Hackney and Barnet where respectively 122 and 120 instances were reported.

In a statement to IBTimes UK, the Met attributed the rise to several factors, including increased reporting, but said that greater focus on the capital’s 250,000-strong Jewish communities in the wake of events elsewhere had led to the spike.

“In light of recent world events, we know communities in London are feeling anxious,” the Met statement said. “Local neighbourhood policing teams are providing a more targeted presence in key areas at key times, such as school routes, holy days and prayer times to give extra reassurance.”

Commander Mak Chishty, MPS hate crime lead, said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders.

“Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police,” he added.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which works to combat anti-Semitism in the UK, told IBTimes UK that, while numbers fluctuated, 2014 was a “record high” for anti-Semitic hate crime. He said this was due to “big trigger events” including the Israeli war in Gaza and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, which led to increased reporting. He explained that between 2010 and 2013 anti-Semitic crime had fallen, but that generally there had been an increase from 2000.

Islamophobia and crimes against London’s Muslim minority have also increased significantly in the same period. There has been a 71% rise according to the Met, with 816 offences recorded in the last 12 months, compared with 478 offences a year ago.

The police have said Muslim women are most likely to be targets of hate crime: “There are a number of reasons why Muslim women are targeted more than men. Their physical attire obviously says they are Muslim, they are normally by themselves and with children, and the cowardice shown by perpetrators is that it is easier to attack a woman with children than it is a man,” the Met said.

By IBtimes.com

Luxembourg’s largest supermarket chain, Cactus, had decided to halt the sale of produce until its supplier finds proof that its origin is not the West Bank.

The chain’s management caved in to pressure by the pro-Palestinian organization Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche-Orient, which held noisy demonstrations at the chain’s stores, claiming that they sold products from settlements.

The protests continued for months, until managers acquiesced and wrote to the group that it was suspending the sale of Israeli produce.

The chain’s management said income from Israeli produce is minimal and is not worth the annoyance to customers caused by protests.

However, the chain announced that it would continue to slel other Israeli products like SodaStream devices and equipment, which provide more significant profits.

Israel’s honorary consul in Luxembourg, Daniel Schneider, has begun an attempt to convince management to reserve its decision. Israeli’s embassy in Belgium, which also covers Luxembourg, is monitoring the situation.

Around two and a half months ago a ban was revoked on Israeli products at three supermarkets in northern Sweden, which are part of a national chain of 655 stores. Some in Israel feared a domino effect that would lead to the entire chain joining a boycott.

The local chain holds an annual consumer conference consisting of 24 members. Pro-Palestinian organizations submitted a draft resolution to the conference to boycott all Israeli products, and not only ones produced in settlements.

The resolution was passed, but after an aggressive campaign, the Swedish government announced it was strongly opposed to the boycott and that it had not authorized the chain’s decision.

By Ynet News

Officials confirmed today that supervisors at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit day camp failed to alert senior management last summer after an employee expressed concerns about the same camp counselor who was accused by authorities earlier this month of abusing young children.

Michael Layne, a spokesman for the Jewish Community Center, said in a statement that they uncovered the disturbing information last Friday. Layne said the JCC is conducting its own internal investigation.

“In the summer of 2014, JCC camp supervisory personnel received a communication from a camp counselor which raised inappropriate conduct by the counselor who ultimately was charged with criminal wrongdoing,” Layne said. “The information reported was not passed on to senior JCC management.  Supervisory personnel who did not act on this communication have been terminated. We have shared this information with licensing officials in Lansing and with the West Bloomfield police department.”

West Bloomfield Police Chief Michael Patton said his department is looking into the allegations.

“We’re looking at a number or things over there,”  Patton said. “There were some allegations that something was reported to some of the staff last year. Whether that has something to do with the current investigation, we’re looking at everything. We’re not saying that there’s no substance to it. Someone raised a red flag…  Our concern is, is this something that has evidentiary evidence?”

Patton said investigators are still trying to determine if there are more potential victims.

The new details come shortly after two sources told the Free Press that the JCC fired three employees on Wednesday over their mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse by Matthew David Kuppe, who was a counselor at the JCC day camp.

The West Bloomfield-based organization fired the 21-year-old Kuppe earlier this month after administrators found out he was being investigated for suspected abuse.

“We are heartsick that this matter has occurred,” Layne said. “Consistent with our long history of delivering positive experiences in our camp and early development programs, the safety of children in our care will continue to be our highest priority. We pledge to continue all efforts to be transparent and proactive in communicating with our camper families and the community.”

Patton said JCC officials have been cooperative with the investigation and have been in daily communication with police. Patton said he was aware of the firings, but he could not say whether they were related to ongoing investigation into Kuppe.

“Our investigation is still continuing into the allegations of what has occurred over there,” Patton said. “We’re looking at many different things. Mostly, the government’s concern and our concern right now is if there are more victims.”

Patton said it’s possible Kuppe can face charges on a state or local level, but it’s unclear at this point.

Kuppe appeared in federal court today for a preliminary examination. Kuppe spoke briefly, only to answer the judge’s questions. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

A mother of a 7-year-old boy who participated in the camp and had direct contact with Kuppe, attended the hearing.

The mother, who asked not be named, said after the hearing that her special needs son cannot communicate well and it’s not yet known if he was abused..

“We don’t know,” the mother said. “It’s just very stressful. We’re living in the unknown.”

She said Kuppe taught her son “Minionese,” the fictional language used in the popular children’s movie, “The Minions.”

The woman said Kuppe was assigned to older children and was not supposed to be around small children.

“He was not supposed to be with my son,” she said. “He was granted permission when they were short-staffed… I am very concerned.”

She said she was informed recently that another counselor had reported “obscure, inappropriate behavior” by Kuppe last year but that he was hired back again this summer.

During today’s court hearing, the judge did not address a motion filed by Kruppe’s attorney, Walter Piszczatowski, asking that Kuppe be released on bond to the custody of his parents on specified conditions.

“Matthew Kuppe is a 21-year-old college student with no criminal history, strong family ties and a meritorious defense to the most serious charge, production of child pornography,” Piszczatowski wrote. “He remains incarcerated despite the fact there are numerous conditions that can be ordered as part of pretrial release to assure the safety of the community.”

Piszczatowski asked that the court schedule a hearing to address Kuppe’s detention.

Kuppe of West Bloomfield was charged this month with production, distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography and is in federal custody. Federal authorities say he abused several children and talked about them in graphic ways with others over the Internet, sharing photos he took of them while they were naked.

West Bloomfield Deputy Police Chief Curt Lawson said the department is in the process of interviewing additional victims.

“We’ve interviewed at least five different children,” Lawson said. “We’re going to interview more children down the road.”

Patton said police are continuing to interview parents, children and employees.

“The alleged victims here are small children and not always able to clearly articulate that they’re a victim of a crime,” he said. “…Some of the kids are aware of the allegations. They heard about this… they’re not totally isolated.”

Kuppe’s parents, Richard and Linda Kuppe, submitted sworn affidavits to the court, stating that they are willing to serve as third-party custodians of their son.

“We have lived in the same home since Matthew was four years old,” Richard Kuppe wrote. “Other than the three years he has lived in a dormitory at MSU, he has lived with us his entire life. My wife and I run our business out of our home. One of us can be physically present in the home at virtually all hours of the day and night.”

Richard Kuppe said he was willing to sign a bond and pledge their home as security for his son’s release.

“I am fully convinced that he will abide by any and all terms of his release and appear in court when and as required,” Richard Kuppe wrote.

Last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said investigators believe that some of the photos taken by Kuppe were of three 5-year-old boys earlier this month during an overnight camp stay. Woodward said Kuppe posted them on a image-sharing website based in Russia that is known to be “frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children.”

Kuppe posted the boys’ photos in an online folder he titled “Jewish boys,” she said.

“These photos were taken and shared online and we can never get that back,” Woodward said. “… After he was arrested, there was an outcry in the community. This is every parent’s worst nightmare.”

By The Detroit Free Press

Hillary Clinton is in hot water for suggesting today that a Republican president might ’round up’ illegal immigrants and send them back across the border to Mexico in ‘boxcars.’

‘I just find that not only absurd, but appalling,’ she told reporters at the Democratic National Committee’s Summer Meeting in Minneapolis.

She did not indicate whom her ire was aimed at and bypassed a reporter who attempted to ask a follow up question about the ‘boxcar’ theory.

The Republican National Committee subsequently accused her of lobbing a Holocaust slur at its Oval Office candidates.

Allison Moore, national press secretary for the RNC, said in a statement to Daily Mail Online: ‘Not 24 hours removed from calling Republicans terrorists, Hillary Clinton reached a new low today hurling Holocaust references at her political opponents.

‘Hillary Clinton may be getting desperate over her sinking poll numbers and growing email scandal, but that’s no excuse for this kind of inflammatory and extreme rhetoric.’

As the RNC harangued Clinton for invoking Nazi-era imagery of Jews being deported from their countries of residence in boxcar trains, Clinton got some back up from her fellow Democratic presidential candidates, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

Sanders, who is Jewish, called Republicans’ deportation plans ‘racist and the Un-American’ and said the country must reject the idea’ that we are going to somehow round up millions of people in the dead of the night.’

‘It’s not what this country is about, and it’s not going to happen,’ he bellowed to a crowd of Democratic activists.

Asked by DailyMail.com at a press conference if he thought Clinton and Sanders had appropriately described their Republican opponents’ stance on deportation measures, O’Malley said, ‘Yes.’

I believe that ‘in times of apprehension, in times when families are working harder and falling further behind, that any people is vulnerable to the appeals of charlatans and hate mongers who would scapegoat others who are not like us,’ O’Malley said.

Several Republican White House candidates, namely Donald Trump, have advocated the mass deportation of the country’s illegal immigrants.

He’s not said how he plans to achieve that goal, however.

Typically, illegal residents who are escorted out of the country are sent by bus back to Mexico or flown back to their home countries

‘I know that there are some on the other side who are seriously advocating to deport 11, 12 million people who are working here,’ Clinton told reporters.

And, she said, continuing, ‘I find it the height of irony that a party which espouses small government, would want to unleash a massive law enforcement effort, including perhaps, national guard and others, to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their work places, round them up, put them in, I don’t know, buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border.’

Clinton said that is why she supports comprehensive immigration reform that would not only allow illegal residents to remain in the country but would offer them a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

‘And i was a deep disappointment to me,’ Clinton, a former U.S. senator, said, that when there was a bipartisan agreement in the Senate in 2013, ‘the House would not even give it a vote.’

‘So I will, I will oppose in every way I can, what I consider to be nothing but a political stunt, and will also raise questions as I am doing today about what the realities of that kind of claim actually are,’ Clinton said.

She moved on as another reporter shouted at her about the boxcars.

O’Malley called Trump out explicitly.

‘When Donald Trump speaks in those sort of racist ways, about whole groups of immigrants, all of us have a responsibility to push back and to call forward the lessons of history, which teach us, that all of us must stand up and speak out when these sorts of things happen,’ he said.

That’s because not to speak out is, ‘in essence,’ he said, to be ‘complicit.’

In her speech before Democratic activists gathered in the Hilton Minneapolis ballroom earlier that afternoon, Clinton had ripped Trump for trying to take away birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

‘Look, you hear Mr. Trump say hateful things about immigrants, even about their babies,’ she said a few minutes later.

How many others disagree with him or support a real path to citizenship, she asked, or ‘draw the line’ at repealing the 14th amendment?

‘Today the party of [Abraham] Lincoln has become the party of Trump.’

Bringing her long speech, which went over the allotted time, back to the topic of immigration a little later, Clinton fired in the direction of Jeb Bush while talking about women’s issues and said, ‘We’re not going to stay quiet while [Republicans] demonize women, whether they’re Latino, Asian or anything else.’

She was referring to Bush’s remarks on ‘anchor babies’ – a controversy that the ex-Florida governor further fueled this week when he claimed he wasn’t talking ill of Hispanics, whom he feels a kindred spirit with as the husband of a Mexican native.

Instead, Bush said he was thinking of Asians.

In her remarks, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also singled out Trump and Bush, as well as Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

‘Republicans rushed to follow [Trump’s] lead’ on eliminating birthright citizenship, even Rubio, she claimed.

Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, who were living in the country legally when he was born, and an author of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill from the previous congressional session.

He and Bush share a home state with Wasserman Schultz, making them easy targets for her criticisms.

Bush, she said, like Trump, used a ‘vulgar and disgusting term’ to describe children born to illegal immigrants in America.

Wasserman Schultz called it an ‘insult’ and said she has a message for Republicans: ‘These are American citizens.’

 By The Daily Mail

Montreal businessman Steve Maman has been dubbed the “Jewish Schindler” for his efforts to rescue women and girls from sexual slavery in Iraq.

But now Maman is defending himself against questions about his motives, click methods and results being raised by politicians, activists and religious leaders from the very minority group he says he has been pouring his time and energy into saving.

In an open letter last week, the signatories questioned a claim they called “dubious” that Maman’s group, The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq, had rescued 102 women and girls (a number that has since risen to 128) with just $80,000. They also questioned whether the money paid for the hostage release was going back into Islamic State coffers. They are calling for Maman to offer proof of his tactics and the identities of those who have been saved before they will approve his work.

“We ask the friends of the Yazidi people all over the world who passionately support our vulnerable community to stop donating to Mr. Maman until his work is verified,” reads the letter, dated Aug. 26. “If his project is legitimate, safe, and ethical, we will also support him.”

Maman claims he has the backing of the Iraqi and Kurdish governments and credits his success to powerful and influential contacts in Iraq who have assisted his team of front-line workers.

He refutes critics’ allegations and says he is preparing to publicly defend his claims: “I know what I have in my hands. I can take the hit for another month, two months or three months in the media and let people say I’m a fraud and all that. But three months from now we’re going to go out in public and show everything we’ve done.”

Maman’s defence against the criticisms have become more strident in the last few days. He says he initially chalked it up to a misunderstanding that occurs as information is translated from French to English to Arabic to Kurmanji, a collection of Kurdish dialects.

A few days later, he sent a cease-and-desist letter to one of the signatories, University of Chicago Yazidi specialist Matthew Barber, who is a member of Yazda, a group that raises awareness about the Yazidi plight. The letter warned the signatories to end their criticisms or face a $5-million defamation suit.

Barber said there was immediate interest — and suspicion — of Maman’s claims, when they emerged in the media, of having saved more than 100 people from slavery.

“Of the people connected to me, nobody could find any person to verify Steve Maman’s claims and none of the Yazidi leaders that our team contacted could verify any of his claims,” he said in an interview.

Now Maman says his group will gladly open its books to legitimate government authorities or reputations like the Red Cross that may want to verify claims about the numbers or the fate of the thousands of women and girls who were taken into captivity by Islamic State fighters last year.

One thing he refuses to do is start publishing photographs or personal details of victims in order to justify or legitimize his efforts.

But Maman is hoping to put the critics to rest with the airing sometime this week of a report by an Israeli news crew who spent part of last week with his people working in northern Iraq.

“She’s got footage of my team, she’s got footage of the people that came out, she’s got footage of two little girls we just liberated,” he said. “She told me the people in the villages have (my) photo. People know who I am.”

By The Toronto Star

Glamour model Tila Tequila has been removed from UK’s Celebrity Big Brother house after posting “totally unacceptable” views on social media, Channel 5 said.

The broadcaster said it had been unaware of the “views and attitudes Tila had expressed” before she entered the house on Thursday and her continued involvement in the show was “untenable”.

More than 500 people signed a petition calling for the US TV personality to be evicted after she allegedly posted a series of anti-Semitic remarks online.

A Channel 5 spokesman said last night: “Unfortunately, Channel 5 and Endemol did not know about the views and attitudes Tila had expressed in social media postings prior to her involvement in Celebrity Big Brother.

“When they were brought to our attention, she was called to the Diary Room for a discussion with producers and was subsequently removed from the house.

“The views Tila had expressed, and permitted to remain uncorrected, are totally unacceptable and, accordingly, her continued involvement in the programme was untenable.”

Jewish leaders had called for the Playboy model, whose real name is Thien Thanh Thi Nguyen, to be removed from the house after she was accused of sharing a series of offensive posts online.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said Channel 5 should “apologise fully for their enormous error of judgement”.

A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “She should never have got anywhere near a programme on British television.”

Nguyen, 33, was one of 13 contestants in the 16th series of Celebrity Big Brother, which started on Thursday.

The mother-of-one, who was born in Singapore to Vietnamese parents, is best known for her bisexual-themed dating show, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila.

She previously hit the headlines when her diabetic heiress fiancee Casey Johnson died in 2010 and when she had a sex tape released without her consent the following year.

By JewishNews Online

President Obama told the editor of an influential Jewish publication that “there’s not a smidgen of evidence” that he is anti-Semitic, hospital a charge some critics have leveled as the president defends the Iran nuclear deal.

Jane Eisner, health editor-in-chief of The Forward, buy used her 45 minutes in the Oval Office Friday (Aug. 28) to ask Obama to respond to critics of the deal, which has divided the Jewish community — and also what she called “a more personal question.”

“Does it hurt you personally when people say that you’re anti-Semitic?”

“Oh, of course,” he told Eisner. “And there’s not a smidgen of evidence for it, other than the fact that there have been times when I’ve disagreed with a particular Israeli government’s position on a particular issue.”

In addition to the interview with The Forward, Obama spoke with Jewish American leaders via a separate video webcast watched live by more than 5,000 YouTube users on Friday.

“Apparently we were able to find one venue we have not already used” to lobby for the Iran deal, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Though American Jews are divided over the deal, Israeli Jews largely oppose it, polls show. Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress and argued that Iran could not be trusted. Congress is expected to vote on the deal in September.

Discussing the vitriolic rhetoric supporters and opponents of the deal have lobbed at each other, Eisner told Obama that “even some of his supporters say that he has contributed to the incendiary language by implying that opponents of the deal are ‘warmongers.’”

“He rejected that outright,” Eisner wrote. “It was the only time during our interview that I saw him bristle and his back stiffen.”

Obama’s use of the term “warmonger” has offended some who note age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories charging Jews as conniving forces behind war.

“What I said,” Obama explained to Eisner, “is that if we reject the deal, the logical conclusion is that if we want to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, military strikes will be the last option remaining at some point. It may not be under my administration; it might be under the next one. And that is something that has to be taken into account.”

Obama also likened the current chill between him and Netanyahu to a family spat, reaffirmed the historically strong alliance between the U.S. and Israel, and predicted that tensions over the deal would dissipate as the deal itself proved itself the best strategy to assure that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.

The president received tough but respectful questioning from the moderators of the Friday YouTube webcast, which included leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America.
By Deseret News

As river levels in Poland fall to record lows in a prolonged drought, decease Jewish tombstones and a Soviet fighter plane with the remains of its pilots have been found in the riverbank, evidence of Poland’s tortured 20th-century history.

Those discoveries follow the findings of stone fragments from the early 20th-century Poniatowski bridge across the Vistula river in Warsaw, which the Germans blew up in 1944 as they crushed the Warsaw uprising. The bridge was rebuilt after the war.

“The Vistula river is hiding no end of secrets. They are everywhere,” said Jonny Daniels, head of the Jewish foundation From the Depths, who waded into a shallow area of the Vistula on Tuesday, picking up fragments of stones with Hebrew lettering.

Officials knew that archaeological remnants were hidden under the wild and murky waters of the Vistula and its tributaries, but it had been impossible to search for them until now. The Vistula, which flows 1047km (651 miles) from the Beskidy Mountains to the Baltic Sea, is now at its lowest level since measurements started in the late 18th century.

On Sunday explorers found the remnant of the Soviet fighter plane in the Bzura river, a Vistula tributary, near the village of Kamion in central Poland. The pieces have been moved to a museum in nearby Wyszogród. More recovery work is planned for Saturday.

The head of the museum, Zdzis?aw Leszczy?ski, said parts of Soviet uniforms, a parachute, a sheepskin coat collar, parts of boots, a pilot’s TT pistol and radio equipment and a lot of heavy ammunition were found. The inscriptions on the control panel and the radio equipment are in Cyrillic.

It is all part of the devastating war that played out across Poland between 1939 and 1945: a German invasion from the west, a Soviet invasion from the east, the murder of Jews across occupied Poland and fighting between the Soviets and Germans after Adolf Hitler turned on former ally Josef Stalin.

Leszczy?ski said witnesses saw the plane being hit while flying low in January 1945. It crashed through the thick ice into the river. At the time, the German army was retreating toward Berlin before the Red army’s advance.

“Until now, the water level did not allow for the search and there was no one willing to enter this swamp,” he said.

A Russian embassy spokeswoman, Valeria Perzhinskaya, said the discovery was important and believed the crew could be identified – by the numbers on the wreckage – and properly buried. About 600,000 Soviet troops were killed fighting the German army on Polish territory.

The Jewish tombstones found in Warsaw are believed to come from the Bródno cemetery in the Polish capital’s Praga district. Once the resting place for 300,000 Jews, only 3,000 tombstones remain. The rest were removed during and after the war, used as building materials and to reinforce the Vistula’s banks.

Two weeks ago a man walking along the river in Warsaw came across fragments of the tombstones with Hebrew lettering. On Tuesday he took Daniels there. In the meantime, some had already been removed, although a few fragments were still lying on the riverbed.

Now Daniels hopes to take students there to do a more thorough search and return anything he can find to the cemetery.

“Jewish history is buried in the Vistula,” he said.

By Theguardian.com