Little Yazidi girl, 7, speaks of ISIS brow-beating

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By Bill Devlin –
Koran recitations, physical torture retold in U.N. refugee camp
A Yazidi mom and her little girl, 7, retell the horror tales at the hands of ISIS “teachers.”
Sitting in a U.N. refugee tent in a camp filled with 18,000 refugees, my stomach turns and my eyes are wet, listening to yet one more horrific, unimaginable crime committed against Yazidi children, girls and women. It is Christmas Eve 2015 and this author is outside Dohuk, Iraq, in the Sharya Refugee camp where Yazidis have lived since August 2014, when they fled the ISIS invasion of Sinjar Province.

The tent where I sit is now home to a Yazidi mother and 7-year-old daughter, “Hania.” Captured in August 2014, this mother and daughter spent 15 months under the murderous hands of Muslim terrorists. Mother and daughter had just arrived in the refugee camp on Dec. 23. Multiple visitors come and go, hugging and consoling the new arrivals. But this mother and daughter have left much behind — she has not seen her husband since the day they were separated by ISIS on August 4, 2014. Her three sons are still held captive by ISIS. Her other daughter, a 15-year-old, is in the hands of ISIS, presumably as a sex slave. And she sits, now fully broken, in a refugee camp with her littlest child. They had been liberated from ISIS from a network of Iraqi men who are determined with their entire being to rescue every man, woman and child still held by ISIS.

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As I sit and hear mom’s story, it is heart-breaking. Mom is anxious to tell me of what ISIS did to her 7-year-old daughter. As I sit next to mom and daughter, through my translator colleague, I am told that they were held captive for 15 months and frequently separated for weeks at a time. “Hania” was taken from the mother to attend lessons in memorizing the Koran. The mother learned later that her 7-year-old was promised severe beatings from the female Koran instructor if she did not, every day, learn the verses from the Koran. The mother also explained that this ISIS “teacher” told her daughter that her name was no longer “Hania” but was now “Abdia” or “slave of Allah.” Surprisingly, at this point, this little girl spoke up and said to me: “This teacher pulled my ponytail and then put her hand on my throat and said that bad things would happen to me if I did not learn the Koran every day and that my name was no longer my Yazidi name but that my name was now a Muslim name and that now I was a Muslim.” Looking at the young face of this little girl, she began to weep as she placed her face in her hands. My heart was filled with both anger and sorrow for what the Muslim terrorists had done to this little Yazidi girl — and hundreds like her.

The mother then said to the daughter, “Please recite for Pastor William and his friend the verses from the Koran that the ISIS teacher forced you to memorize.” I was, at first, internally revolting by the mother’s request. My Yazidi colleague said that the mother wanted the daughter to speak so that the West and Americans could learned about the brutality of what was going on in the lives of Yazidi children. I agreed to listen and asked permission to video what this little girl would say in Arabic. To my astonishment, the recording went on for 15 minutes of copious verses of the Koran that this 7-year-old was forced to memorize — and beaten — if the required text was not recited in perfect fashion. It was a tear-filled 15 minutes for all of us in the tent.

And what if this were your 7-year-old? American Christians ask for “boots on the ground.” How about my boots? How about your boots? Come, with your boots, with me to Iraq in April 2016. We cannot help all; but we can give our all for the sake of these little girls.