Human rights activist Nadia Murad,
a Yazidi who was kidnapped and
sold into sex-slavery by the
Islamic State. (AP)
Another young victim of the Islamic State’s genocidal practices, Nadia Murad, said the radical Islamic group killed her mother and six of her brothers and sold her into sex-slavery, where she was regularly raped and even gang-raped, what her captors called “sexual jihad.”
Murad further said that the Islamic State (or Daesh) “came with the sole aim of destroying the Yazidi identity through force, rape, recruitment of children and destruction of all our temples.” This is “genocide against our identity,” she said, adding that “rape was used to destroy women and girls and to ensure that they could never lead a normal life.”
Murad was 21 when the Islamic State invaded her village in Sinjar, Iraq in August 2014. At least 312 Yazidi men, including Murad’s brothers, reportedly were rounded up by Daesh and killed. Murad was taken to Mosul, Iraq with 150 other Yazidi women and children. There, Murad was given to an Islamic State jihadist as a “gift.”
Murad described her experience and how she escaped from Daesh, in late 2014, in a February 2016 interview with the BBC’s HARDtalk program.
Host Sarah Montague asked the young woman, “How did you manage to escape?”
Nadia Murad said, “The first time I tried to escape I was with the first man [from Mosul] who raped me and treated me badly. I thought to myself, I must run away although I didn’t believe I would succeed. Daesh militants were everywhere in Mosul.”
“I tried to escape through a window but I was immediately caught by one of the guards who put me in a room,” she said. “Under their rules, a captured woman becomes a spoil of war if she is caught trying to escape. She is put in a cell and raped by all the men in that compound.”
“I was gang-raped,” said Murad. “They call this practice sexual jihad. Afterwards, I couldn’t even think of trying to escape again.”
“The final man that I stayed with in Mosul lived alone,” she said. “When he decided to sell me on he went to get me some clothes. He told me to wash myself and get ready to be sold to someone else.”
“Even though I thought it was impossible, I managed to leave the compound,” said Murad. “I called at a house, a Muslim family with no connection to Daesh lived there. I asked them for help. I said to them that my brother would give them whatever they wanted in return.”
Yazidi women. (AP)
She continued, “The family told me that they did not support Daesh and had no connection with them. They gave me all the help they could. They gave me a black abaya and an Islamic ID, and then they took me to the border.”
“And that allowed you to escape and get out?” said the BBC’s Sarah Montague.
“Yes, the family helped me to escape,” said Murad.
In testimony before the United Nations Security Council in December 2015, Nadia Murad said she was able to escape “three months after my abduction” and that she currently lives in Germany, where she was given medical care and assistance.
“But this is not just about my suffering; it is about collective suffering,” said Murad. “Daesh gave us two options: become a Muslim or die. And even men who agreed to become Muslims out of fear for their lives were killed, their women enslaved and their children recruited.”
“Sixteen mass graves have been discovered so far,” she said. “One of them contains the remains of 80 women — including my mother — whom they did not desire and so decided to kill. More than 400,000 thousand people have been displaced, and over 40 per cent of our land is still under the control of Daesh.”
Murad has testified about her experience before many governments, including the U.S. Congress. She is a human rights activist now, fighting to stop the Islamic State genocide against the Yazidis, Christians, and other religious minorities. She also has been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Prize.
Nadia Murad’s website is here.