In the summer of 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants attacked the city of Mosul and then continued an assault across the Nineveh Plains. They devastated the historic homelands of the Christian and and Yezidis, displacing more than 100,000 people in a matter of days.
In the first week of August, ISIS began a brutal assault on the Yezidi community in the Shingal (Sinjar) region. In a few short days, the group had killed over 10,000 Yezidis. Another 6,417 were kidnapped, and many of them were sold into sexual slavery. Hundreds of Christians in towns across the Nineveh Plain who did not flee faced beheadings, crucifixion, sexual enslavement and forcible conversion.
Four years later, hundreds of thousands of Yezidis, Christians, and others are still displaced, unable to return securely to their homes. 3,000 Yezidi women and children and dozens of Christians remain missing. Iraq’s Christian community has been devastated, with 90 percent having fled the country since 2003. Those who have been rescued from ISIS are deeply traumatized from the experience, as are their families and communities.
On August 3, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion on the current state of the ethnic and religious groups that were attacked by ISIS in the 2014 Nineveh Plains and Mosul offensives. The Hon. Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States and the Hon. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States. This was followed by welcoming remarks by Kent Hill, executive director of Religious Freedom Institute, and a panel including Free Yezidi Foundation Board Director Pari Ibrahim; Sherri Kraham Talabany, President of the SEED Foundation; Ashur Eskrya, President of the Assyrian Aid Society; Senior Advisor at the Office of International Religious Freedom, Douglas Padgett; and Loay Mikhael with the Iraq Haven Project. The panel was moderated by Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson’s Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea.
This event was co-sponsored with the Religious Freedom Institute.