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How an Iraqi friar saved ancient Christian manuscripts from IS

Iraqi friar Najeeb Michaeel poses on May 22 , 2015 in Paris at the Hotel de Soubise, where the national archives of France are preservedBullets whistled overhead, a black Islamic State flag flapping in the distance, but all Friar Najeeb Michaeel could think of as he fled the jihadists was how to save hundreds of ancient Iraqi manuscripts in his possession. “You are going to get us killed with your archives,” Michaeel’s assistant Watheq Qassab grumbled as he struggled to carry six boxes of the documents dated between the 13th and 19th century across the border from Iraq into Kurdistan in August last year. Michaeel first smuggled his precious library out of Mosul to Qaraqosh — Iraq’s largest Christian town — during an Islamist insurgency in 2008 which saw thousands of Christians flee the city.

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