Hundreds of Yazidi women raped by members of the Islamic State are being forced to choose between abandoning the young children born to them during captivity or facing expulsion from their own community.
Barfe Farho, a Yazidi who had been kidnapped by the Islamic State in Syria, gave up her 11-month-old daughter, Maria, after she was told the little girl, born of her jihadist captor, would never be accepted by her ethnic and religious community.
“I was told that she couldn’t be accepted because she would always be a ‘daughter of Daesh [Islamic State]’. They said: ‘we must forget our daughters killed by Daesh, so you can forget yours,’” she told The Telegraph.
The 26-year-old mother, who has two older children — sons Jegar, 5, and Jan, 4 — was faced with an impossible choice after being freed from captivity in March: “I could either give two of my children a good life or a bad one to all three,” she said.
Farho was among thousands of Yazidi women and girls captured from their homeland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, in 2014. While many of the captives died, most of the survivors were forced to convert to Islam and used as sex slaves by Isil fighters.
Since the fall of the “caliphate” in 2017, many of the women have been allowed to return to Yazidi communities. However, their children born to jihadists — believed to be in the hundreds or low thousands — are still considered Muslim and thus will not be welcome.
Farho was captured while five months pregnant, along with her husband and infant son. Eventually, her husband was taken away, and she was passed around several times until she ended up with a senior Chechen commander, Maria’s father.
When the Chechen discovered Farho was pregnant, he tried to get her back to her family in Iraq but was executed for treachery after his plan was discovered.
“Each minute of our time there I would pray we would all die right then together, so that we did not have to live another day,” Farho told The Telegraph. “I did not want my children growing up to see me as someone’s slave.”
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