The mother of a missing Canadian Palestinian citizen journalist says the federal government is keeping her in the dark about what is being done to locate her son.
PM Trudeau says government is ‘actively engaged’ after Mansour Shouman was reported missing
Mai Hussein poses for a photo with her son Mansour Shouman. His family and friends say he has been missing in Gaza for over a week. (Submitted by Mai Hussein)The mother of a missing Canadian Palestinian citizen journalist says the federal government isn’t keeping her informed about what is being done to find her son.
Mai Hussein, mother of Mansour Shouman, told CBC News she hasn’t heard from him in over a week.
“It’s 10 days of horror to me. Sleepless nights,” she said. “I need to know what happened to him.”
Shouman’s family and friends say they have been told by relief organizations on the ground that witnesses saw him being taken into custody by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
CBC News has not been able to verify this account. A request for comment from the IDF was not answered prior to publication.
Global Affairs Canada [GAC] has said the government is monitoring the situation. When asked Wednesday what information Ottawa has about Shouman, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said only that the government is working on the case.
WATCH | Mansour Shouman has been sending dispatches from Gaza throughout war:
Canadian citizen journalist missing in GazaCanadian citizen journalist Mansour Shouman went missing on Jan. 21 in Gaza. Family, friends and the Canadian government are now working to track him down in one of the world’s most dangerous warzones.
“We are actively engaged, we are actively working on this. We’re talking to everyone, we’re taking this one very seriously,” he told reporters on Parliament Hill.
Hussein said she has been reaching out to GAC, the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly’s office, but no one is bringing her into the loop.
“How can you stay 10 days without knowing what happened to him? And if you know, why [not] tell his mother?” she said.
“I’m very disappointed. I’m a single mother. I worked so hard to get them Canadian citizenship, so my children can have a government who will fight for them and help them when they are in need.”
Mansour Shouman, his wife Suzan Harb and their children Aisha, Fatima, Omar, Mariam and Ibrahim. (Submitted by Mansour Shouman)Shouman has been a Canadian citizen since 2006. Two of his five children were born in Canada, but the family went back to the Palestinian territory last year after seven years in Calgary to be closer to family.
In November, Shouman’s wife and their children fled the besieged Palestinian territory for the United Arab Emirates. Shouman decided to stay.
Since then, he has reached millions of English speakers through his daily social media updates on the conflict. He has also spoken to a number of Western media outlets, including CBC News.
Hussein said she tried to persuade her son to leave Gaza but he reminded her she taught him not to abandon people in need.
“I told him this, but I never knew [the] price would be that hard on me,” she said.
WATCH | PM asked about missing Palestinian-Canadian journalist:
PM asked about missing Palestinian-Canadian journalistCommenting on the disappearance of Canadian-Palestinian journalist Mansour Shouman in Gaza, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s taking the case ‘very seriously.’
MP Rob Oliphant, Joly’s parliamentary secretary, told reporters Wednesday that the government is “in contact with every possible body that could have information” about Shouman. He said he couldn’t go into specifics for “privacy reasons.”
Zaheera Soomar, a member of the volunteer team in Canada that helps Shouman post videos online, said Oliphant’s response appears to be the “standard” reply from the government. Soomar said she and her colleagues have also been asking the federal government for information about Shouman.
“The family needs answers and they need support, not just email responses. They need to be talking, they need calls and they need to be talking to people in government,” she told CBC News.