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Houstonian Campaigns For Religious Minorities In Iraq

Religious groups like the Yazidis are being persecuted by ISIS militants.

Murad Hasan is back in class this semester, but the University of Houston graduate student hasn’t been able to focus on school.

Hasan is a Yazidi, a member of the Iraqi religious minority under attack by the Islamic militant group ISIS. He spent the last three weeks in Washington D.C. petitioning the State Department to intervene.

“When you have a minority of half a million being persecuted, then it’s an obligation from us as a country and from the world as human society to take action,” he said.

Hasan says his most pressing concern is the estimated 5,000 Yazidis taken hostage by ISIS. He has been taking calls around the clock from hostages and their families asking for help. Hasan says women are being sold as sex slaves. Young boys are sent to terrorist training camps. Girls as young as five are forced to marry ISIS leaders.  

Before moving to Houston, Hasan worked as an interpreter for U.S. troops in Iraq. He says his military training helped him stay strong while hearing these horrific stories. Hasan says many Yazidis see the U.S. as their only hope.

“When a woman calls me from captivity, she’s telling me, what is the U.S. doing and is the U.S. going to take action?” he said. “The U.S. is the voice of justice.”

Hasan is asking Americans to learn more about the Yazidi community, his social media campaign and tell elected officials to support intervention against ISIS. 

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