The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is the highest honor the European Union bestows upon people or organizations dedicated to defending human rights and freedom.
Among this year's finalists is Msgr. Michaeel Najeeb, who was named archbishop of Mosul in 2019. He was nominated because in 2014, he didn't just stand by when the Islamic State appeared on the world stage. He helped evacuate the population and saved more than 800 historical manuscripts that would have probably been destroyed by fundamentalists.
MSGR. MICHAEEL NAJEEB MOUSSA
Archbishop of Mosul (Iraq)
“This Sakharov Prize, in reality, is a symbol. It's a call to work all together for the same cause, for humanity, for humanity to live with dignity, because violence only breeds violence. Today, in saving human beings, we must also save their history, their past.”
Mosul became one of the bloodiest scenes in the fight against the Islamic State. In Iraq, the war left about three million internally displaced people, on top of a huge loss of cultural patrimony. The situation today remains very unstable.
That's why Msgr. Moussa is among those nominated for the Sakharov prize, instituted in 1988 in honor of the Soviet dissident, Andrej Dmitrievič Sacharov. The winner of this award will be announced on Oct. 22, and the ceremony will take place on Dec. 16 at the European Parliament.