Toronto's Yazidi refugee community welcomes Nadia Murad's Nobel Peace Prize win

Toronto’s Yazidi refugee community is welcoming the move to award human rights activist Nadia Murad with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Murad was awarded the prize Friday for efforts to end use of sexual violence as weapon of war

Founder and president of Toronto-based One Free World International Rev. Majed El Shafie says he hopes Nadia Murad's Nobel Peace Prize win will shine a light on the Yazidi genocide. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

Toronto's Yazidi refugee community is welcoming the the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to human rights activist Nadia Murad.

A Yazidi and a survivor of sexual slavery by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Murad, 25, was awarded the prize Friday for her effort to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist treating victims of sexual violence in Congo, was also awarded a Peace Prize Friday.

Murad is one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by ISIS.

She was 21 years old in 2014 when ISIS militants attacked the village where she had grown up in northern Iraq. They killed those who refused to convert to Islam, including six of her brothers and her mother.

She fought back after all what's happened to her.- Rev. Majed El Shafie

Rev. Majed El Shafie, founder and president of Toronto-based religious freedom organization One Free World International, says he hopes the prize will shine a light on the Yazidi genocide.

"Nadia Murad is one story of thousands and thousands of stories," he told CBC Toronto. "She fought back after all what's happened to her."

Murad, along with many of the other young women in her village, was taken into captivity by the militants and sold repeatedly for sex as part of ISIS's slave trade.

Human rights activist and Yazidi genocide survivor Nadia Murad, left, with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

She eventually escaped captivity with the help of a Sunni Muslim family in Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq, and became an advocate for the rights of her community around the world.

At 23, she was named the UN's first goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking.

There are an estimated 45 Yazidi families living in the Toronto area, and El Shafie has helped settle many Yazidi refugees in Canada.

He has also met and worked with Murad in Washington and Europe and says he wouldn't call Murad a victim, but rather a victor. 

"This is not just victory for the Yazidi community, that's not just victory for her, but it's victory for every woman that faced sexual violence," El Shafie added about Murad being awarded the prize.

"Sexual violence against women has been happening for centuries and has been used as a weapon of war, and we're hoping that this will shine a light to stop this."

With files from Farrah Merali and Reuters