Yezidi group infuriated by Dutch play allegedly glorifying ISIS convict
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Yezidi victims who suffered at the hands of the so-called Islamic State are infuriated by a Dutch theatre play that focuses on the life of a Dutch woman, Laura Hansen, who joined the terror group.
Hansen converted to Islam at 17 and married a Dutch-Palestinian. In 2015, she joined her husband, a member of the Islamic State, and moved to Syria.
In 2017, she surrendered to Peshmerga forces and was returned to the Netherlands where she was sentenced to 24 months in prison, of which 13 are suspended.
The Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF), a non-profit organization that is designed to help vulnerable Yezidis, last week questioned why media outlets and theaters in the Netherlands have given a platform to a convicted terrorist.
When Dutch citizens joined the Nazis, they did not have plays or glorification about them after WWII. Why are #Netherlands theater and media outlets giving platform to someone convicted as accomplice for the preparation of terrorist actions with #ISIS #Daesh ? @ministerieJenV— FreeYezidiFoundation (@Free_Yezidi) October 15, 2020
Pari Ibrahim, the Founder and Executive Director of FYF, told Kurdistan 24 the group is “unhappy that Dutch public and private outlets are glamorizing the life of someone convicted by Dutch courts.”
Ibrahim said attention should instead be given to the stories of survivors “and the legacy of misery and hell that ISIS left in its wake.”
Nina Spijkers, the play’s director, told the Dutch daily, Algemeen Dagblad, that she agrees that more attention is needed for Yezidis and their suffering, but denied that the play glorifies Islamic State fighters or females with ties to the group.
Trying to understand the motives of terrorists is not the same “as justifying or glorifying (their actions),” Spijkers added. “ISIS seems to be defeated, but the breeding ground for radicalization still exists.”
Media’s fascination with foreign ISIS members
Brenda Stoter Boscolo, author of “The Forgotten People,” a book about the Islamic State genocide of the Yezidis, told Kurdistan 24 that there is a trend in European media to focus on foreign fighters and females who joined the terror group instead of the victims.
Media attention for Islamic State members has led “to a lot of frustration among Yezidis,” Boscolo said. She noted that the victims are hardly ever invited to Dutch talk shows because the media thinks it is fascinating to cover how a European joined the Islamic State.
Gian Aldonani, a Yezidi activist who lives in Germany, highlighted the media’s often passive coverage of female members of the Islamic State, whether foreign or local.
“The media, in particular, has failed to recognize the crimes committed by ISIS female members, and on many occasions, they reported that these women are ‘ISIS brides’ without highlighting their role as a fundamental part of the terrorist organization,” she told Kurdistan 24.
According to Aldonani, many Yezidi genocide survivors have reported abuse, including torture and slavery, at the hands of these female Islamic State members who hold important ranks within the terror group.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany