Cairo Friday, 24 January 2014
In another failed attempt to derail Egypt’s democratic transition, Egyptians were subjected as of the early morning hours of Friday, January 24th 2014 to a series of terrorist bombings. The first and biggest terrorist attack targeted Cairo Security Directorate where a car bomb was detonated in the vicinity of the Directorate killing 4 people and injuring 76 most of them civilians. The explosion also caused massive damage to the building of the Museum of Islamic Arts, one of Egypt’s most treasured cultural landmarks, as well as substantial damage to one of the buildings of the National Library and Archives and many of the manuscripts housed therein.
According to the statement of The Attorney General the explosion, which left behind a hole 27 Meter square with more than 2 meter deep in Port Said street, didn’t only chatter the façade and inner offices of the 8 stories building of the Security Directorate and many private buildings but also inflicted a great damage on the façade of the Museum of Islamic Arts across the street. It also destroyed the exhibition glass boxes, three historical Papyrus as well as seven unique manuscripts. The Minister of Culture declared that the building of the museum was seriously affected and it will have to be rebuilt.
I am confident that the family and followers of Museum With No Frontiers are aware of the importance of Cairo Museum of Islamic Arts and the unique nature of most of the artifacts exhibited therein. The Museum of which collections some pieces disappeared in late 2012, has always been proud of having unique and unequaled possessions such as: The key of Al Kaaba, made of copper adorned with gold and silver in the name of sultan Al Ashraf Shaaban, the oldest gold dinar found in the Islamic World, carrying the date of 77 Hijry, unique wooden artifacts and a rare collection of Koran.
On 28 December 1903 the Museum was inaugurated boosting a collection of 3145 items. Along the years the museum became the most important museum of Islamic Arts in the World with more than 100000 items acquired from all corners of the Islamic World. In 2010 after years of closure for restoration and renovation, the Museum was re-inaugurated when only 1700 pieces were found on display. In front of the public raw caused by the meager number of items compared to what was known to be in the possession of the Museum, it was declared that there will be constant change in the items to be exhibited. Now with the terrorist bombing the Museum is suffering another round of bad luck.
To conclude I wish to assure the family and followers of Museum With No Frontiers that terror acts will never deter Egypt’s resolve to continue its valuable contribution to the cultural march of Humanity. On behalf of the World we’ll continue our fight against terrorism with unwavering determination. We are confident that at the end we’ll prevail as Right, Justice and Beauty are all on our side.
Ambassador Fathy El Shazly, Cairo
Member of the MWNF Honorary Committee