The Islamic State had tried to wipe out the Yazidis, whose faith mixes elements of Islam with pre-Islamic beliefs. Four years on, the genocidal campaign against the already isolated religious minority casts a long shadow, challenging the faith’s long-standing tenets and piling pressure on the religious establishment to navigate the needs of survivors.
In April, the faith’s highest religious body issued an edict that appeared to suggest that children born to an Islamic State father — usually as the result of rape — would be welcomed back. The backlash was immediate, and the door swiftly closed.
But long before that, hundreds of mothers had already faced the agonizing choice: Keep the son or daughter but stay away forever, or abandon the child to come home.