EU Human Rights Award: Iraqi Archbishop who Saved Manuscripts from ISIS Has Been Nominated

An Iraqi Archbishop that goes by the name, Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, has just been nominated for a European…
Iragi archbishop

An Iraqi Archbishop that goes by the name, Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, has just been nominated for a European Union prestigious award for his preservation efforts in saving thousands of important historical documents from the Islamic State’s invasion of Mosul in 2014.

The 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded to groups and individuals who are dedicated to the defense of human rights and the freedom of thought.

Archbishop of Mosul, Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, an Iraqi Archbishop safeguarded over 800 historical manuscripts from the 13th to 19th centuries. These manuscripts were later digitized and exhibited in Italy and France.  Since then he has protected 8,000 more manuscripts and 35,000 documents from the Eastern Church.

The Catholic News Service revealed that in 2014, Archbishop Moussa had organized a small group to take two flatbed trucks and load them with about 1,300 valuable manuscripts after realizing they had lost the battle and the Kurdish forces were in retreat. The thoughtful priest didn’t go with the trucks as he preferred to stay with his people while trekked 40-mile through the summer heat to get to the Kurdish capital.

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While the Archbishop was interviewed by AsiaNews, he recalled the moment when he needed help in preserving the documents that were important to the cultural history of his people. He said that he prayed to God for help and God did.

To save the manuscripts and people during the advance of Islamic State forces, many feet, and many hands were needed. At that time, I called on God to have ten feet and ten hands to save books and people, and he replied by sending me many young people who helped me in this mission.

Archbishop Moussa

Archbishop Moussa said that the nomination was an honor to his people, especially the Yazidis, a peaceful people who faced the real tragedy.

We need true peace in order to continue living as a community based on the principle of citizenship, overcoming barriers of race, religion, ethnicity … This is the only viable solution for the future.

Archbishop Moussa

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