Cry Freedom! The Nazarene Fund Rescues 11-Year Old Yazidi From ISIS Captivity
On Saturday, The Nazarene Fund, reunited Malak, an 11-year-old Yazidi, with her family after six years of captivity by the Islamic State (ISIS). Discovered by our partners in late January at the Al Hawl refugee camp, Malak was being held there by the wife of an ISIS fighter.
Malak was kidnapped on August 3, 2014, in Sinar, Iraq during the ISIS invasion. Captured along with her father, mother, and brother, Malak was imprisoned and transported around ISIS-controlled Iraq for eight months. Later, Malak’s father was taken away while Malak and the remainder of her family were taken by an ISIS fighter to Al Raqqa, Syria – the capital of the terrorist group’s former territorial caliphate.
Malak, along with her mother and brother, were forced to convert to Islam and were treated as domestic slaves. Malak and her brother were made to study Islam and The Quran and were frequently beaten by their captors. They never saw her father again.
In 2018, ISIS began losing territory as its forces were defeated by the advancing Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Force (SDF), along with coalition airstrikes. By 2019, the terrorist group was in full retreat and Malak’s captors forced the family to flee with them to the towns of Chaafa and Baghouz, and finally to Hajine. While there, the building where they sheltered was destroyed during an airstrike. A bomb killed the ISIS fighter along with Malak’s mother and brother. Malak miraculously survived, but her hand was severely injured.
The fighter’s wife then took Malak to the Al Hawl camp, which at the time was a collection point for surviving ISIS wives and families. While there, the ISIS wife continued to keep Malak prisoner, lying to camp managers about the girl’s identity and continuing to abuse her. Al Hawl, now a detention center with a population of over 70,000 inmates awaiting a decision on their legal status, has become infamous for violence committed inside by its residents. It is believed that many more ISIS captive – Yazidis, Christians, and others – are still being held in Al Hawl against their will and unknown to the forces controlling the camp.
Fortunately, The Nazarene Fund and it’s partners located Malak in late January, and after several weeks of identification and verification, obtained her release and escorted by our team back to Iraq. She was reunited with her uncle and the rest of her surviving family.