At the tender age of three years old, Christina was ripped from her mother’s arms and kidnapped by ISIS as they invaded the Christian villages of the Nineveh Plains. She instantly became the symbol of the genocide, churches all over the world prayed for her safety and release. Now, at six years old she has been liberated and reunited with her family. She was found and saved by a Muslim family who returned her to her parents. Unfortunately, due to her capture, she is unable to speak to her parents and can only communicate through sign language. As her community celebrates her return, she is no longer a symbol of genocide but today is a symbol of hope.
06/09/2017 Iraq (Huff Post) – A sign that humanity is not completely dead. Yesterday afternoon at 2 PM, photographer and journalist Allen Kakony, received a call from the Iraqi army in a call Mosul, Iraq’s second largest town. “A six-year-old Christian girl had been liberated” from the hands of ISIS. Her father and a family friend were to go to a specific location in Mosul where she would be given back to them.
The terrorist group ISIS invaded Mosul and surrounding villages of the Nineveh Plain during the summer of 2014. Christian Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs were given four options: convert to Islam, flee, die or pay extortion money (so called jizye, a religious tax). The letter N in Arabic, Noon, meaning Nazerene or Christian in Arabic was painted on all Christian homes and shops, they fled en masse for fear of being slaughtered. ISIS also persecuted Yazidis and other non-Muslims minorities as well as Muslims who did not heed ISIS’s interpretation of the Koran. Thousands of people were slaughtered and thousands more were kidnapped. Millions were exiled.
Christina was three years old at the time.. Her family’s faith became known all over the world. She was snatched from her mother’s arms by one of the ISIS commanders. New York Times Magazine and many others outlets covered her story. Her face was used on placards all over the world during rallies to stop the persecution of non-Muslims in Iraq and Syria. As her family waited in utter devastation, in a camp in Kurdish Regional Government’s capital Erbil, their story was discussed in the European Parliament, the US congress and many other places. A Demand for Action, the organisation I am a part of, reported numerous times about the family’s plight because of their faith. Christina became a symbol of genocide. Churches all over the world prayed for her safety and release.