Magazine article The Christian Century

Nadia Murad

Magazine article The Christian Century

Nadia Murad

Article excerpt

Nadia Murad saw a chance for escape. Weeks earlier, militants from the self-described Islamic State had murdered much of her family and taken her captive. Along with other young Yazidi women, she was transported to Mosul, in northern Iraq. She was beaten and raped.

Murad, 21 years old at the time, had already attempted escape once. She was quickly caught and gang-raped as punishment. Now her latest captor was telling her he was going to take her to Syria and sell her to another fighter.

When he left the house unguarded, she put on garments covering her face and body and slipped quietly out into the street. Nearby was a mosque where ISIS fighters often went to pray. She walked in the opposite direction to look for help. When she came to an area where the houses were dilapidated, she decided to take a chance, reasoning that the militants would have commandeered nicer dwellings. She tapped on a door.

"Out came a family, and they pulled me in," she said. "I told them I am from Sinjar and what happened to me."

The family's eldest son drove her out of ISIS territory after she donned the robes again, posing as his wife.

Three years later, Murad has become the international face of Yazidi suffering--and resilience. Now living in Stuttgart, Germany, she has traveled to more than two dozen countries to tell her story. In 2016, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime appointed her a goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking.

This month she is publishing a German edition of her memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight against the Islamic State. …

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