AJC Dismayed by Destruction of Christian Library in Lebanon

Jan 08, 2014, 10:13 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is dismayed by the destruction of more than 50,000 books in an arson attack on a major Christian library in Tripoli, Lebanon. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO)

A Muslim mob targeted the Al-Saeh library, owned by Greek Orthodox priest Ibrahim Surouj, after a pamphlet insulting the Prophet Mohammed was allegedly found in one of the library books.

"The Jewish people knows all too well the ominous implications of burning books," said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs. "As the 19th century German poet Heinrich Heine poignantly observed, 'Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.'"

AJC called on the Lebanese authorities to do their utmost to protect the well-being of all its religious communities.

The fire burned two-thirds of the library's collection of 80,000 books and manuscripts built up over decades by Father Sorouj.

"Violence in the Arab world, inspired by radical, unforgiving ideology, has too often targeted with impunity the cultural, historical and religious sites of minority faith communities," said Rosen. "The arson attack on Father Sarouj's library is terrorism, driven by obscurantism and bigotry."

SOURCE American Jewish Committee