United States (US) President Donald Trump appeared confused and unfamiliar with the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad as she urged him to help the Yazidis in Iraq.
Murad, one of thousands of Yazidi females abducted and taken as sex slaves by Daesh during their campaign of expansion from 2014 to 2018 and who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, was part of a group of survivors of religious persecution who met Trump in the Oval Office on the sidelines of an important meeting with the State Department.
She explained to the president how her mother and six brothers were killed and that 3,000 Yazidis are still missing, to which he responded: “And you had the Nobel Prize? That’s incredible. They gave it to you for what reason?”
Murad repeated her story, saying “after all this happened to me, I didn’t give up. I make it clear to everyone that ISIS [Daesh] raped thousands of Yazidi women.” She pleaded with the president to “please do something. It’s not about one family.”
She also requested Trump urge the Iraqi and semi-autonomous Kurdish governments to help facilitate safer living conditions for Yazidis in the country, at which he asked “But ISIS is gone and now it’s Kurdish and who?” before telling her later that “I know the area very well.”
Last year, Trump announced his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, basing it off the overall military defeat of Daesh which once controlled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, which Trump credited himself with achieving.
The Yazidis are a minority group in Iraq and other parts of the Levant who follow an ancient faith often cited as an admixture between elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Daesh, however, accused them of being devil-worshippers and launched a brutal campaign against them around their bases at Mount Sinjar, killing the men and taking the women captive.
It is also reportedly not the first time he has shown confusion at a well-known situation or crisis in the world, a previous incident being earlier in his presidency when he met with a representative of the Rohingya Muslim minority, which is being persecuted in Myanmar.