Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of Islamic State captivity and UN goodwill ambassador, visited the Israeli Knesset on Monday to raise awareness for the plight of her people and explain how it relates to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust.
“My visit here today is to ask you to recognize the genocide being committed against my people, in light of our peoples’ common history of genocide,” Murad told a gathering at the Israeli parliament, The Times of Israel reported.
She also expressed her admiration of Jewish resilience in the face of annihilation. “The Jews and the Yazidis share a common history of genocide that has shaped the identity of our peoples, but we must transform our pain into action,” she said, adding, “I respect how you rebuilt a global Jewish community in the wake of genocide. This is a journey that lies ahead of my community.”
In August 2014, Murad was captured in her village of Kocho in northern Iraq by Islamic State fighters. Before she was sold and abused as a slave, she saw six of her brothers killed and her mother executed for being too old to serve as a slave. Islamic State propaganda refers to the indigenous Yazidi people as “devil worshippers” and “unbelievers” unworthy of life.
“Before this genocide, I had little information on the Jewish community because we don’t have many Jewish people in Iraq,” Murad told The Jerusalem Post. “I had zero knowledge about the community until I started this campaign and saw Jewish communities support us.”
“Their ability to stay strong and keep their culture … it’s an example. I personally fell in love with doing that. The Jews are an example. We should do the same,” she added.
Murad’s quest to bring justice to her community and have the atrocities committed against the Yazidi people recognized as a genocide has taken her around the global. She was brought to Israel with the support of IsraAID and Yazda, a Yazidi non-profit organization.
During her stay, Murad met with Israeli lawmakers, visited Yad Vashem, addressed a delegation of young professional women hosted by the American Jewish Committee, and spoke at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“We think they’ll (Jews) understand our case more than anybody else,” Murad said. “We have been in many countries, meeting with governments for help for the Yazidi communities. I always wanted to come here to Israel, a lot of victims wanted to come and ask for help from the government and people of Israel,” she concluded.
[Photo: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äuß /Flickr ]