February 18, 2018

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Yazidi Women Finally Go To School, Defying Former ISIS Rulers — And Their Own Parents

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Hadiya Haskan and her mother Rosa Haji at their makeshift home in a village of displaced Yazidis near Dohuk in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Jane Arraf/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jane Arraf/NPR

Before she went to New York last fall to speak to thousands of people, Najla Hussin had never been more than a few hundred miles from her village in northern Iraq.

Hussin, 20, is from Sinjar in northern Iraq, where ISIS swept in four years ago to kill and enslave members of the ancient Yazidi religious minority.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for girls’ education, met Hussin and other young Yazidi women during a trip last summer to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She invited Hussin to speak on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

ISIS massacred Yazidi men and is believed to have captured more than 6,000 Yazidi women and children in 2014 — using many of the girls and women as sex slaves and rewards for militants. The kidnappings and killings are considered genocide by the United States and the United Nations.

Before ISIS, the Yazidi community in Sinjar was one of the poorest

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