Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf at an Easter Mass in Erbil, April 2015 (Mazur/
Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf at an Easter Mass in Erbil, April 2015 (Mazur/

The last Christian leader to leave Mosul after it was invaded by the Islamic State group in 2014 has spoken about his personal loss to terrorism, as Nuri Kino reports in the Huffington Post.

Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, who risked his life to stay as long as possible in Mosul, explained that, before IS, Christians in the city were being murdered by, apparently, members of Al-Qaeda.

In a previous interview with Kino, after the liberation of Mosul started, the Archbishop had argued that “it is not liberated… It won’t be until the fundamentalist Salafi doctrine is totally gone from there. It is an ideology that was there long before ISIS.”

A friend of the Archbishop was beheaded in 2004 for being a Christian and because he had “cooperated” with the Americans in the year after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The Archbishop was working in Australia in 2006 when he heard that his family in Mosul had been attacked by Al-Qaeda. “The terrorists kidnapped and killed his cousin, then this brother was warned that they were going to kill him, too. The brother managed to escape, and when Al-Qaeda came to his shop and he was gone, they burned it to down the ground. During the same time the Archbishop’s friend and teacher, Poulus Skandar, was kidnapped and killed,” reported Kino.

While many of his family had left Iraq, the Archbishop had been asked by his Church to return from Australia to Mosul. “Australia is a paradise. It was like flying from serenity to hell… But I didn’t hesitate for a second. God wanted me there, so I went,” he said.

Eventually the Archbishop accepted that he must leave Mosul and fled as one of an estimated 200,000 people escaping from the IS atrocities in the Nineveh Plains.

The journalist was speaking to the Archbishop during his visit to Sweden in July.