This Is the Woman Most Wanted by ISIS
Iraqi lawmaker Vian Dakhil is fighting to save her Yazidi sect
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2015 9:39 AM CST
Vian Dakhil, one of two Yazidi representative in the Iraqi parliament.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

(Newser) – Vian Dakhil is a 43-year-old member of Iraqi's parliament who also happens to be at the top of the Islamic State's death list, writes Abigail Haworth in a profile for Marie Claire. Dakhil is one of only two representatives in parliament of the Yazidi sect, one that ISIS has been trying to eradicate in typical brutal fashion. She has emerged as a hero among the Yazidis, and her speeches have helped galvanize international action to protect her people. (In fact, Dakhil herself was injured in a helicopter crash during a rescue mission on Mount Sinjar last summer.) "I have received warnings from government intelligence that I am now IS's most-wanted woman," Dakhil tells Haworth. "If they capture me, they will execute me at once."

One of her biggest missions is to try to help Yazidi women who have been kidnapped by ISIS militants, and she has circulated her private phone numbers so that any who have access to a smuggled phone can call her. She took several such calls on one morning alone, relaying the information to underground activists who will try to help the women escape. Haworth accompanies her to a camp for refugees, where she is surrounded by supporters chanting her name. Writes Haworth: "What makes her so popular with her fellow Yazidis—and so dangerous in the eyes of the Islamic State—is that she is their greatest symbol of hope. Hope is the very thing the jihadists have tried to extinguish with their genocidal campaign against the minority." Read the full profile.