Days after her appointment, Iraqi education minister quits over links with ISIS

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A scandal and slew of accusations directed at Iraq’s Minister of Education Shaima al-Hayali caused her to quit her post, after the head of the committee defending victims of terrorism, Nafie al-Imara, said she was a supporter of ISIS during their siege of Mosul, and that her nephew blew himself up near security forces.

Emara said that the documented information is public, adding that Hayali is the sister of an ISIS leader named Laith al-Hayali.

Hayali had been nominated by the al-Banaa Coalition, which includes the Fatah Alliance led by Hadi al-Ameri and the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Hayali released a statement declaring her resignation, which is now with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. She admitted to the accusations against her, stating that her brother’s association with ISIS was forced.

“I am an Iraqi woman, first and foremost, and independent. I never worked with any party or political bloc,” she said in her statement, adding that her appointment to the ministry of education was because she was an academic from the University of Mosul, which is known for its high cadres.

Hayali added that ISIS forced them to work within the scope of civil jobs, as was the case with many in the Nineveh province, pointing out that her brother's continued work with the organization was because he was under threat. She added that the threats continued even after Mosul was liberated.

Hayali also said that her brother “never carried arms nor kill or help kill any Iraqi”, adding that the videos circulating of her brother are “cheap methods to incite against her.” She said there is no concrete evidence proving that he belonged to the organization on a military level.

She concluded by saying that her resignation is “now in the hands of Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi to make his decision once he is sure of any relation linking me with the terrorist organization.”

The Iraqi parliament had appointed the minister of education, as well as minister of culture and minister of planning last Saturday to complete the cabinet of Abdul Mahdi, whereas the posts for minister of interior, defense and justice remained vacant.

According to security sources, Hayali also has two cousins who belong to ISIS.

The video which circulated online showed that her brother, along with one of his sons, had fled from Iraq to Turkey using false passports, after he lost two of his sons during the suicide bombing operations against the Iraqi army.

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