Perhaps the attackers meant to follow in the illustrious footsteps of the caliph Umar, who according to legend said when ordering the ancient, fabled library of Alexandria to be burned: “If the books agree with the Qur’an, they are superfluous. If they disagree with it, they are heretical.” In any case, they destroyed over 50,000 books, without apology. The only one doing any apologizing was the owner of the library, Father Ebrahim Surouj, who managed to stave off a planned demonstration against area Christians by meeting with Islamic leaders in Tripoli and convincing them that he had nothing to do with the pamphlet that supposedly insulted Islam and Muhammad.
And another thing: the offending pamphlet was “discovered” inside one of the 80,000 books in the library. How exactly did that happen? Did one of the Muslims who destroyed the library walk in, pick up a book, and lo and behold, discover a pamphlet insulting Islam and Muhammad inside it? What a remarkable coincidence, even if he opened five, or ten, or fifty, or a hundred, or five hundred books, that he would have found that pamphlet within one of those 80,000 volumes. It seems more likely that the pamphlet was planted as pretext to burn the library and terrorize the Christians.
“Assailants torch decades-old library in north Lebanon,” from AFP, January 4 (thanks to Block Ness):
“Unknown assailants torched the Saeh Library in Tripoli, destroying two thirds of some 80,000 books and manuscripts housed there,” said the source, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
Civil Defence teams were deployed to put out the fire, “but there are fears that more books were damaged by the water used to try and put out the flames,” he added.
The attack came a day after “a pamphlet was discovered inside one of the books at the library that was insulting to Islam and the Prophet Mohammad [PBUH],” said the source.
“After that, the library owner, Father Ebrahim Surouj, met with Islamic leaders in Tripoli. It became clear the priest had nothing to do with the pamphlet, and a demonstration that had been planned in protest over the incident was called off,” said the source.
“Then on Friday night, the library was torched,” he added.
The library is located in the historic heart of Tripoli, Lebanon’s second city and scene of frequent Syria-related violence pitting Sunnis against members of the minority Alawite community, to which Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad belongs….