WASHINGTON — A Yazidi woman who had formerly been held as a sex slave for the barbaric Islamic group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, testified before a Congressional panel on Tuesday, urging the U.S. government to become more active to defeat the terrorist organization.
Nadia Murad, 21, who escaped her captors in 2014, told the Senate Homeland Security committee that “the USA must act. We must terminate Daesh and all such terror.”
Murad had been captured by ISIS fighters in Kocho at 19, and was raped and tortured for three months until she was able to escape. She was then helped by a Muslim family to obtain fake identification so that she could flee the ISIS-controlled area. Murad told the panel that six of her brothers and her mother were all executed by ISIS in a single day.
“I was freed, but I do not enjoy the feeling of the freedom because those who have committed these crimes have not been held accountable,” she lamented with the aid of a translator.
As previously reported, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report earlier this year that outlined that sexual slavery and sexual abuse of women and children remains an ongoing problem in Iraq, with an estimated 3,500 civilians currently being held in slavery by ISIS.
“ISIL continues to target members of different ethnic and religious communities, systematically persecuting these groups and subjecting them to a range of abuses and violations,” the report said. “Women and children remain particularly vulnerable, with ongoing reports of sexual violence, including sexual slavery, and the forcible recruitment and use of children in hostilities.”
Murad, who now lives in Germany, told the U.N. Security Council in December that she had personally been both raped and beaten, and was urged to convert to Islam.
“[H]e beat me,” she said of the man who took her as his slave. “He asked me to take my clothes off. He put me in a room with the guards and then they proceeded to commit their crime until I fainted.”
“I implore you,” Murad pleaded, “get rid of Daesh completely.”
Murad told Congress on Tuesday that not only should the U.S. become more active in defeating ISIS, but those who adhere to the Islamic religion should be more vocal in denouncing the militant group.
“What has been happening has been happening under the name of Islam,” she stated. “The Muslims must be the first ones to resist this … We have not seen that Daesh have been labeled as an infidel group within Islam by any Muslim country.”
Murad also warned that unless the U.S. acts to stop ISIS, incidents such as the Orlando massacre will continue.
“I knew if ISIS were not stopped, they would deliver their crimes everywhere,” she said. “If a country as strong as your country cannot protect its citizens in Orlando, or in Belgium or in France, how come a small minority like us can protect ourselves while we are in the heart of the land where the radicals are?”
“Today, I am saying that small religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis and other minorities, if they are not protected, they will be wiped out,” Murad cautioned.