Nadia Murad is a 24 year old public advocate for the Yazidi community. She was among the thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). She was repeatedly raped and spent approximately one month in captivity. This includes an initial period when Nadia’s village was under siege by ISIS; a second period when she was held as a sexual slave at different ISIS sites; and a final short period in which Nadia was in hiding in a family home in ISIS-controlled territory until she was able to escape.
Nadia suffered the loss of six of her nine brothers who were slaughtered by ISIS in the Kocho massacre. Thousands of Yazidi men and older Yazidi women were murdered including Nadia's mother.
Nadia belongs to the Yazidi religion that is indigenous to northern Iraq and also found in parts of Syria and Turkey. This ancient faith preserves pre-Islamic and pre-Zoroastrian motifs and practices. Not recognized as “people of the book” by Islamic law, the Yazidis have been targeted over many centuries by several genocidal campaigns. Yet they have persevered and survived in their mountainous homelands. In recent times, political pressures have almost eliminated the Yazidi presence in Turkey, and the ISIS genocide that began on August 3, 2014 threatens the very future of the Yazidi people in Iraq.
Nadia grew up in the Iraqi village of Kocho, a quiet agricultural area that had good relations with its neighbors, both Christian and Muslim (Arab, Kurdish, and Turkmen). Nadia attended secondary school and had hoped to become a history teacher or make-up artist. But this peaceful life was ruined forever and her dreams were shattered after ISIS attacked her homeland in Sinjar and tried to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all Yazidis.
With much gratitude,