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LEBANON: Thousands of books, manuscripts torched in fire at historic Lebanese library

A Lebanese soldier stands guard, on January 4, 2014 in north Lebanon's city of Tripoli, outside a decades-old library owned by a Greek Orthodox priest that was torched after "a pamphlet was discovered inside one of the books that was insulting to Islam and the prophet Mohammad" said a source, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. (AFP Photo)

A Lebanese soldier stands guard, on January 4, 2014 in north Lebanon’s city of Tripoli, outside a decades-old library owned by a Greek Orthodox priest that was torched after “a pamphlet was discovered inside one of the books that was insulting to Islam and the prophet Mohammad” said a source, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity. (AFP Photo)

 

Two-thirds of a historic collection of 80,000 books have gone up in smoke after a library was torched in the Lebanese city of Tripoli amid sectarian tensions. The blaze was started after a pamphlet insulting Islam was reportedly found inside a book.

Firefighters struggled to subdue the flames as the decades-old  Al-Saeh library went up in smoke on Friday in the Serail  neighborhood of Tripoli. Despite firefighters’ best efforts,  little of the trove of historic books and manuscripts was  recovered from the wreckage.

“Two thirds of some 80,000 books and manuscripts housed  there,” a security source told Agence France Press,  referring to the items destroyed. The source added that the blaze  was started after a manuscript insulting the Prophet Mohammed was  found hidden in the pages of one of the library books.

A demonstration had been planned in Tripoli after the pamphlet  was found but was reportedly called off after the library’s Greek  Orthodox owner spoke with Muslim leaders. Lebanese news outlet  Naharnet also reported that one of the library workers was shot  and wounded Thursday night.

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,” the source said.

Full Article at RT

Christians and Alawites target of Tripoli attacks

Lebanese soldiers

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Residents of the Tripoli  neighborhood of Zahrieh were still reeling from attacks targeting businesses owned by Christians and Alawites over  the weekend, with some fearing the incidents were meant to fuel sectarian  hostilities. The attacks took place overnight by unidentified armed men, as  owners were surprised to learn early Friday when they arrived at the main street  of Zahrieh to open up their shops. They rummaged through the debris, as many  shops had been burned, to see if any of their merchandise could be salvaged.

All of the owners belong to the Christian and Alawite communities of Zahrieh,  causing some observers to muse that they were paying the price for long-standing  sectarian tensions in the northern city.

The affected shop owners, identified as Fadi Khoury, Jean Maamari, George  Rachkidi, Farid Estephan, Tamim al-Atrash and the owners of retail chains  Eskandar and the Nidal boutique, expressed frustration over the incidents,  saying they were shocked and saddened that their properties had been damaged and  fearful that there were certain parties in Tripoli seeking to remove them from  the city.

Belonging to a minority group in Tripoli, some shop owners said they didn’t  have authority figures to complain to either.

“My neighbor called at 6 a.m., and told me that plumes of smoke could be seen  billowing from my shops after unidentified men attacked the stores and threw  fire bombs,” shop owner Maamari told The Daily Star. “When we arrived at the  scene it was horrible, we could see our properties and stores, our only means of  making a living, burning before our eyes.”

“There is no one here to protect us, because we live in Tripoli,” Maamari  said dejected. Residents have long complained that the area is underdeveloped  and constantly overlooked by the government, centered in Beirut.

Read more:  (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News )

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