Category Archives: Iraq, Kurdistan

How one Yazidi family was saved from IS by an Arab tribal leader

Publication: The New Arab

DUHOK, Iraq- ​It’s been three years since the Islamic State group attacked her village in the district of Sinjar, but Nadine Naif remembers it like it was yesterday.

The 47-year-old mother of three was in her house in Tel Banat when an IS militant came to their home, pretending that he wanted to help them. “Stay here. In the evening I will come back to take care of you,” the fighter urged them. Continue reading How one Yazidi family was saved from IS by an Arab tribal leader

‘Mijn vrienden zijn nu in de hemel’ Kindsoldaten van IS

Publicatie: Groene Amsterdammer

Honderden jezidi-jongens werden door IS getraind om voor de terreurgroep te strijden of om zelfmoordaanslagen te plegen. Sommigen wisten te ontsnappen. Zij leven nu in opvangkampen in Noord-Irak, waar de hulp grotendeels ontbreekt.

SNEAKERS, EEN T-SHIRT en een modern kapsel. Op het eerste gezicht lijkt Majdal een doodgewone jongen, maar zo voelt hij zich al lang niet meer. Alles wat stond voor zijn kindertijd werd vernietigd toen Islamitische Staat (IS) in augustus 2014 zijn woonplaats Kocho met geweld binnenstormde. Majdal werd gescheiden van zijn moeder en zussen en naar Raqqa gebracht. Continue reading ‘Mijn vrienden zijn nu in de hemel’ Kindsoldaten van IS

Yazidi boys forced to fight for IS still need psychological help

Publication: Al-Monitor 

DAHUK, Iraqi Kurdistan — Majdal, a 14-year-old Yazidi teenager wearing a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, looks like an ordinary boy but does not feel like one anymore. His childhood was destroyed when the Islamic State (IS) invaded his hometown Kocho in August 2014. Like other Yazidis, Majdal was separated from his mother and siblings. He was brought to a military camp in Raqqa. “Forget your faith, family and past. From now on, your name is Abu Otman and you are Muslim,” the leader of the camp told Majdal. Continue reading Yazidi boys forced to fight for IS still need psychological help

The Yazidi men left behind: ‘ISIL destroyed us’

Publication: Al Jazeera

Duhok, Iraq – Salem Khalaf, a 63-year-old tractor driver, vividly recalls the day in August 2014 when ISIL fighters attacked the Sinjar region. Upon hearing that the group was drawing near and that security forces had fled, Khalaf and other Yazidi men sent their families away, while they remained in place, taking upsmall arms to defend their homes. Continue reading The Yazidi men left behind: ‘ISIL destroyed us’

Sold for $60: Yazidi children describe cruel life as IS slaves

 Publication: Middle East Eye
 DUHOK, Kurdistan Region of Iraq – Umm and Abu Ahmed could not have children of their own. So when the middle-aged Sunni couple from Mosul heard the Islamic State (IS) group was selling Yazidi orphans, they decided to take one in. For $500, they bought five-year-old Ayman.

Abu and Umm bought all kinds of toys for Ayman, changed his name into Ahmed, taught him how to memorise the Quran and enrolled him in a local school. For 18 months, they raised him like he was their own son. Continue reading Sold for $60: Yazidi children describe cruel life as IS slaves

For many of Iraq’s Yazidis, going home is not an option

Publication: Al-Monitor 

DAHUK, Iraqi Kurdistan — When Nadine refused to marry the 25-year-old Islamic State fighter from Yemen, he took her daughter Ronia instead. Right in front of Nadine’s eyes, he tore the clothes from her daughter’s body. Then he raped the 10-year-old girl.

“Mommy, help me, my little girl cried. Ronia was so young that she didn’t even know what sex was,” said Nadine, who belongs to the ethno-religious Yazidi minority, sitting in a tent she built herself in the countryside of Dahuk. Continue reading For many of Iraq’s Yazidis, going home is not an option

Mosul’s children and the lasting scars of conflict

Publication: The New Arab

MOSUL, Iraq- Mohammed was only 11 years old when he saw how two men were beheaded by Islamic State militants. It was at one of the many IS checkpoints in the city of Mosul, where Mohammed and his friends were hanging out.

“The sword went up. Walk away now, I told myself, but I felt paralysed. After the beheadings, I dizzily walked away, leaned over and puked up my breakfast,” said Mohammed, now 13. Continue reading Mosul’s children and the lasting scars of conflict

How this young Yazidi is bringing hope to IS victims

PHOTO: Free Yezidi Foundation
PHOTO: Free Yezidi Foundation

Published: Al-Monitor

AMSTERDAM — Pari Ibrahim, 27, was a regular law student in the Netherlands who had a job in a library until she received a phone call at 5 a.m. in August 2014 that would change her life forever. A family member from northern Iraq called to inform her that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) had invaded Sinjar and had killed the men and kidnapped the women and children Continue reading How this young Yazidi is bringing hope to IS victims

De vrouwenhaat vlucht mee

Publicatie: Trouw en De Tijd. Best gelezen online Trouw-artikel van 2016. 

FullSizeRender (7)Je kunt het Midden-Oosten niet naar Europa halen zonder de vrouwenhaat en het seksueel geweld erbij te importeren. Kun je dat nog zeggen, vraagt Brenda Stoter zich af, zonder je aan racistische clichés schuldig te maken?

‘Jij hebt de helft van mijn verstand, dus ik heb meer recht van spreken. Staat in de Koran”, besloot mijn Jordaanse chauffeur Mohammed de discussie. Die ging over mijn relatie. Mohammed noemde mijn vriend een ‘watje’ omdat hij mij Continue reading De vrouwenhaat vlucht mee

Het stille leed van de Yezidi-vrouwen

‘Niemand hier heeft haar man nog. We zijn helemaal alleen’

DUHOK– Duizenden Yezidi-vrouwen werden het afgelopen jaar door Islamitische Staat (IS) tot slaaf gemaakt en verkracht. Een deel wist te ontsnappen. Zij keerden terug naar Noord-Irak: ziek, gebroken en ernstig getraumatiseerd.

Artikel geplaatst in MO*. Om het te lezen, open deze link: MO118-082_YEZIDIVROUWEN (2)

The silent grief of the Yezidi women

Publication: MO* (also translated in Dutch and French).

Over the past year thousands of Jezidi women were made a slave and raped by Islamic State (IS) fighters. Some of them got away. They returned to Northern Iraq: ill, broken and severely traumatised.

The temperature is over 30 degrees, but Aniya is shivering. Now and then she wipes the sticky sweat off her forehead with her black headscarf or firmly rubs her hands. ‘He raped me’, she says at the beginning of the conversation, Continue reading The silent grief of the Yezidi women

Balkanroute: Mee met de vluchtelingentrein

FullSizeRender (6)
PHOTOS: MARIELLE VAN UITERT

Publicatie: De Tijd

Iedere dag reizen duizenden vluchtelingen met de trein door de Balkan, op weg naar een beter leven in West-Europa. Ze zijn uitgeput, want voor slapen of douchen is geen tijd.

Overal staan sporttassen en zakken vol spullen. De muren van de wagon zijn bespoten met graffiti. Het ruikt er naar zweet, eten en viezigheid. De vluchtelingen uit Syrië, Afghanistan en Irak hebben al dagenlang geen douche gezien. De meesten vallen uitgeput in slaap, anderen lopen nerveus heen en weer. Continue reading Balkanroute: Mee met de vluchtelingentrein

Terrorists turn month of peace into time for war

Publication: Al-Monitor, July 14, 2015

For most Muslims around the world, the month of Ramadan marks a period of fasting, abstinence and contemplation. Besides a month for spirituality and reflection, Ramadan is also a month in which extra attention is paid to tolerance, generosity, charity and solidarity.

For some, however, the concept of “holy month” also carries a more violent meaning. Extremist groups such as the Islamic State (IS)— but also groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda — perceive Ramadan to be a month of jihad and martyrdom, Continue reading Terrorists turn month of peace into time for war

After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Publication: Al-Monitor

DAHUK, Iraq — The first man Aniya was forced to marry was an Islamic State militant called Abu Safouan. She was 41 and he was 22, but still he bought her and her 3-year-old daughter at a slave market in Raqqa. After he had raped and abused Aniya for 20 days, he told her he was fed up with her and sold her to a 27-year-old man who called himself Abu Ali Sham.

“He used to rape me when my daughter was outside the room. She often screamed and cried, because she knew something was wrong, Continue reading After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Kurdish fighters struggle to pay bills

Publication: Al-Monitor

ERBIL, Iraq — When Hemin Zangana was sent to the front line in August 2014, he and his fellow peshmerga fighters were determined to recapture the Mosul Dam from the Islamic State. They told each other they would rather die during this important mission than accept the fact that IS was in full control after Kurdish forces partially retreated from the area. For several nights, Zangana wasn’t able to sleep properly.

“The peshmerga were weak, too weak. It was the hardest battle I had ever experienced. Yet we were convinced we had what it took to defeat IS,” he told Al-Monitor. Continue reading Kurdish fighters struggle to pay bills

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