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Nadia Murad: Once an ISIS slave, now a Nobel Peace Prize winner

Ms Murad is an advocate for the Yazidi minority in Iraq and for refugee and women’s rights in general. She was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in Mosul in 2014.

By Vanshika Garg
Published on :
Nadia Murad: Once an ISIS slave, now a Nobel Peace Prize winner

Born in the village of Kojo in Sinjar (Iraq), Nadia Murad has faced the cruelties which one can’t even imagine in our night mares. Before becoming a global face of inspiration to all the survivors of injustice, Nadia once lived a life of ISIS slave.

Human rights activist Nadia Murad and Doctor Denis Mukwege was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday October 5. While unveiling the winners in Oslo, Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen announced that the duo have been awarded for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.”

Journey from open fields to the cages of ISIS

This 25-year-old global champion, hailing from a peaceful family of farmers, started off with a decent life in small village with her brothers, step brothers and parents.

However, in 2014, when Islamic State fighters rounded up the Yazidi community in the village killing 600 people – including six of Nadia’s brothers and stepbrothers – and taking the younger women into slavery, her life become no less than a terrifying horror film.  That year Murad was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women taken prisoner by Islamic State in Iraq.

ISIS terrorists set about killing the men, taking children captive to train them as fighters and condemning thousands of women to a life of forced labour and sexual slavery. Nadia claimed she was held as a slave in the city of Mosul, the de facto “capital” of the ISIS’s self-declared caliphate, where she was beaten, burned with cigarettes, and even raped when trying to escape.

The terrorists organised slave markets for selling off the women and girls. Like thousand others, Nadia too was forcibly married to a terrorist, beaten and forced to wear makeup and tight clothes — an experience she later related in front of the United Nations Security Council.

Life Turned! Nadia’s journey as a social activist

Nadia was able to escape after her captor left the house unlocked. Murad was taken in by a neighbouring family who were able to smuggle her out of the Islamic State controlled area, allowing her to make her way to a refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq.

Armed with false identity papers, she managed to cross the few dozen kilometres (miles) to Iraqi Kurdistan, joining crowds of other displaced Yazidis in camps.

With the help of an organisation that assists Yazidis, she joined her sister in Germany, where she lives today. Slight, and softly-spoken Murad has now become a global voice, campaigning for justice for her people and for the acts committed by the terrorists to be recognised internationally as genocide.

She has since dedicated herself to what she calls “our peoples’ fight”, before a well-known spokeswoman even before the #MeToo movement swept the world.