The Islamic State terror organization is expected to continue existing despite its imminent military defeat for as long as it still retains some connection with its adherents, an activist told EFE in an interview published Saturday.
With the last IS-held territory in Syria, Al Baguz, under attack by Syrian Democratic Forces, Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown confirmed that countering the organization's ideology should be based on two pillars.
First, it is important to bear in mind the reasons that led to its emergence in the first place, added Schaeffer Brown, who was a co-founder of Nadia's Initiative, a nonprofit organization presided by Yazidi activist Nadia Murad, the 2018 co-recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.
At the height of its power, the so-called IS caliphate stretched across great swaths of Iraq and Syria from the historic Iraqi city of Mosul to Raqqa, Der Ezzor and Palmyra in Syria.
The IS caliphate became a relatively well-organized and brutal proto-state adhering to fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.
The other way to tackle the terror organization’s ideology is to stress the failure of their genocide campaign against the people of the Yazidi religious minority, she continued.
In Aug. 2014 over 6,000 Yazidis were abducted and nearly 5,000 were killed by the terror organization’s fighters as they burst into the Iraqi city of Sinjar, which has been for centuries a home for this minority, whose religion is based on Zoroastrianism.
Five years later, there is no clue about the whereabouts of 3,000 Yazidis who went missing.
Schaeffer Brown called on the international community to join her NGO allocating the necessary resources to finish off the extremists’ ideology and help the Yazidi minority to turn the page.
Nadia's Initiative has been dedicated to the reconstruction of Sinjar, located in the Iraqi Kurdistan, and to provide the necessary assistance to the victims of sexual assaults, such as Murad, who was held as a slave for months by IS fighters.
The NGO is in a unique position that enables it to facilitate the reconstruction of the city, given it is well aware of the reality affecting the Yazidi people, their political, cultural and economic complexities, according to Schaeffer Brown.
Although Murad donated the whole prize money she got by winning the Nobel Peace Prize along with Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege to help these efforts, this was not enough, Schaeffer Brown said.
While the main effort, and subsequently the fund, was directed to defeating IS on the battlefront, tackling the terror group should also involve a long-term strategy based on defending human rights, Schaeffer Brown added.
Inaction in this respect could prove costly and could lead IS to claim some kind of victory which could only inspire potentially deadly tactics elsewhere, she said.