Read this interview by Focus on the Family with Patriot Voices President Nadine Maenza and author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
In 2020, the vast majority of news coverage here in the United States was dominated by the presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the challenges and calamity of Syria’s civil war, and the continued impact of ISIS’ brutal expansion in the summer of 2014, has been mostly forgotten.
But despite the chaos and carnage, there is a surprising ray of hope in the region. This is the focus of journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s new book, “The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage and Hope.” In it she shares the story of a small group of Kurdish female fighters who took up arms and led military operations against ISIS, with the hopes of establishing a freer society where women could experience equality and the Kurdish people, a suppressed minority in the region, could fully embrace their culture and protect other religious minorities, like Christians and Yazidis.
In the end, though there were casualties, they won and established an autonomous zone in northern Syria near the Turkish border that provides citizens with the freedom to practice their religion, even the ability to convert from Islam to Christianity, and includes a mandate that women must hold half of all government positions.
The story of Women’s Protection Unit (YSF) members Azeema, Rojda and Znarin and commander Nowruz are incredibly compelling, and recently The Daily Citizen had the opportunity to interview Lemmon and Nadine Maenza, who serves as the Commissioner for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Though ISIS might be gone, the autonomous zone is now under threat from Turkey, which has had a historically aggressive stance towards the Kurdish people. “I would say that there’s a fragile stability,” Lemmon said.
“I was there in December of 2019, right after the incursion (by Turkey) and what was amazing to me was to see how enduring the institutions that they built have remained. And I think everybody is waiting to see how the next several months play out,” Lemmon explained. “But right now, women are still co-heading the civil councils, the women’s councils are still up and running, and the entire notion that they were founded upon, which is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith society, continues to hold.”
Maenza added, “It’s really remarkable how they built this governance in the middle of a civil war, while they were fighting ISIS. So obviously, having Turkey invade is a negative development, but they are used to dealing with conflict, and still governing and trying to meet their people’s needs.”
Read the rest here: https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/daughters-of-kobani-the-story-of-kurdish-women-who-fought-for-religious-freedom-and-equality-against-isis-and-won/?refcd=873402&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=religiousfreedom_2021&utm_content=article