Christian Mother Describes Moment ISIS Stole 3-Y-O Daughter Off Her Shoulders

An Iraqi girl smiles after escaping from the Islamic State-controlled village of Abu Jarboa, Iraq, October 31, 2016.
An Iraqi girl smiles after escaping from the Islamic State-controlled village of Abu Jarboa, Iraq, October 31, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Azad Lashkari)

A displaced Iraqi Christian mother is desperate to find her now 6-year-old daughter who was stripped from her by an Islamic State militant in 2014 as her family fled from their home in northern Iraq.

The mother, who spoke with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya, is now living in the Bahraka displacement camp in the Kurdish town of Erbil along with many other residents who fled the town of Qaraqosh, which was once home to over 50,000 Christians, when IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) conquered the city of Mosul and areas of the Nineveh Plains in the summer of 2014.

But this mother, only referred to as "Christina's mother," is going from displacement camp to displacement with a giant photo of her youngest daughter, hoping that somebody has seen her.

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Christina, only three at the time, was stripped off her mother's shoulders by a jihadi in July 2014 when they decided to make a last-ditch effort to flee after they were told by the militant group to pay a tax or be killed.

Although Christina's mother tried to negotiate her daughter's release, she was eventually told to never ask about her daughter again.

The mother recalled her horrifying encounter with IS in an interview with Al Arabiya's "Death Making" program.

"My husband, a blind man, was sick and unable to escape. I sent my older children to run away with people in town. I stayed behind with my husband and younger daughter, Christina, and I thought she would be safe, no matter how cruel they were," the mother was quoted as saying. "I didn't expect them to hurt my little girl. What would make them hurt a little girl like her or even a woman?"

Like many other Christians who could not escape from their homes before the IS takeover, Christina's mother soon learned that the jihadi death cult taking over their town has a disdain for Christianity.

"We were told that we must convert to Islam, pay 'jizya,' (taxation against Christians and other non-Muslims) or leave the city. I told them that we will think about it and asked for more time," the mother explained, adding that the three of them then tried to flee the town.

"My husband was recovering, so I took him and carried my daughter on my shoulders looking to leave the city," she continued. "However, she was then captured and I had to go back to Qaraqosh and beg them to return my daughter."

The mother explained that a few days later when she met with a Tunisian militant who served as the head of the outfit in Qaraqosh, her daughter was sitting in his lap.

"I cried and begged for her return. He pointed to one of the fighters to send me outside," she said. "This armed man told me they would cut my head off if I remained in the city one more day. I left with my husband feeling my heart bursting out of my chest."

Nearly three years later, Christina and her parents have yet to be reunited. Al Arabiya reports that Christina's mother tried to negotiate the release of her daughter through mediators in Mosul and Qaraqosh. However, they could not secure her release.

Even though Christina's mother received a recent photo of her daughter, she was told to never inquire about her daughter again.

Although little is known about the fate of Christina, IS is known to enslave religious minority girls and women, who are bought, sold and bartered by IS militants as sex slaves. Earlier this week, it was reported that as many as 36 yazidi women and girls were rescued after spending nearly three years in IS enslavement.

"What these women and girls have endured is unimaginable," Lise Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith Follow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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