Nadia Mourad Basee Taha was introduced to the pope last year.
When he had just returned from Egypt on May 3, 2017, Pope Francis summarized his trip in a few words in St. Peter’s Square during the general audience. That day, he mentioned the blood of Christians and the martyrs of the attacks that had just bloodied the Coptic Church.
But did he know that, at the bottom of the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, another martyr, a non-Catholic, was listening to him attentively? She was Nadia Mourad Basee Taha, a Yazidi woman in her 20s, also a victim of Islamist violence. At the end of the audience, she approached the man in white to greet him and exchange a few words with him.
Did he also know that she was already being approached to receive the Nobel Peace Prize? When she finally reached the head of the Catholic Church, an intermediary presented her: “Most Holy Father, this is Nadia, a UN Goodwill Ambassador against Drugs and Human Trafficking.” A year later, she was rewarded by the Norwegian committee, which recognized her struggle to end sexual violence, which she denounced as being as devastating as the most powerful weapons of war.
The long ordeal of a sex slave
Nadia Mourad is now 26 years old, but she has already experienced the worst atrocities imaginable. This Iraqi Yazidi passed through the claws of Islamists who enslaved her in the worst conditions: sexual slavery at the service of fighters — or supporters — of the Islamic State jihadist group.
A victim of all kinds of abuse, the young woman was dragged from one “owner” to another. The young Kurdish woman managed to free herself one day by running away.
Since then, the United Nations has made her an icon of the choice to fight against slavery. Her painful story, she explained, is an effective weapon for fighting terrorism. “I intend to use it until these criminals are brought to justice,” she wrote in a book published with the firm desire to be the last girl in the world to have to tell such a story.