Nadia Murad urges the international community to help the Yazidis.
She was abducted from Kocho near Sinjar, an area home to about 400,000 Yazidis, and held by Islamic State in Mosul where she was repeatedly tortured and raped. She escaped three months later, reaching a refugee camp, then making her way to Germany.
Last week she made a tearful return to her hometown after 3 months of captivity and 3 years of exile. In her time away she has become a social activist, pleading with any officials who will listen to help save her religious minority people, the Yazidi, from persecution at the hands of IS.
The Yazidi people are ethnically Kurdish religious community. Their religion, Yazidism, is linked to ancient Mesopotamian religions; some believe they are a modern connection to the Magi of the Nativity. Yazidism combines aspects of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Because of this melding, Islamic State views them as devil worshipers and seeks to eradicate them.
In August of 2014, the Yazidis became the target of IS in its attempt to “purify” their lands of non-Islamic influences. This uprooted the lives of thousands of families who saw their young women enslaved, their young men sent to indoctrination camps to be trained as terrorists, and their older members murdered.
Murad has directed officials to 3 mass graves, which she wishes exhumed:
“Open a case for those that lost everything, their parents, people who can not go back to their villages and exhume their loved ones buried around their villages,” she said.
Murad returned to her hometown with her sister, who was also held as a slave and escaped. Neither of the girls ever thought they would see Kocho again.
The town had changed greatly; where once there were 2,000 Yazidis, that number has been cut in half by IS. The siblings lost 18 family members in the attack.
Murad has called for this slaughter to be officially recognized as genocide. She has also claimed the international community has failed her people:
“The international community has not delivered on its responsibility,” she said. “I tell anyone that you are being unjust for not supporting a minority like the Yazidis.”
There are still over 3,500 women and girls being held as slaves by IS.
Murad has spoken to the United Nations Security Council in 2015 and to governments world wide. For her efforts she has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and a role as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. Murad plans to release a memoir later this year entitled The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State.
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