Sheikh Condemns “Normalizing” Islamic Heritage in Israeli National Library

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PNN – Palestine News Network  31.10.11 | Maysa Abu Ghazaleh

Qurans and ancient manuscripts, some over a thousand years old, are just some of the rare Islamic treasures on display at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in a show sponsored by the Israeli National Library. They used to belong to sultans and governors, but before they were donated to the library, they were the property of Israeli researcher and Arabist Abraham Shalom Yehuda.

Israeli museum-goers peruse ancient Islamic manuscripts at Hebrew University (Maysa Abu Ghazaleh, PNN).
Most of the attendees at the gallery opening were Israelis, with a few Muslims from the library staff. The gallery opened with a recital of ayat (verses) from the Quran and a series of lectures by Israeli and Palestinian researchers.
One lecture dealt with Islamic jurisprudence, beliefs and mysticism, while another addressed the Quran and hadiths, and a third focused on the Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, one of the most important Muslim theologians of the past millennium. A fourth talk will concern the conservative theologian Ibn Taymiyya.
Dr. Rachel Yokles, the custodian of Islamic exhibits in the Israeli National Library, said in an interview that most of the manuscripts, including a hundred Qurans and 1,184 other old manuscripts, were donated by Yehuda.
“The gallery aims to expand the knowledge about Islamic culture by showing these treasures and reflecting the culture’s beauty and depth,” she said.

A gilded Quran from the Israeli National Library (Maysa Abu Ghazaleh, PNN).
Sheikh Najeh Bukeirat, director of the manuscripts department in al-Aqsa mosque, vouched for the authenticity of the manuscripts, saying there were very few copies of them in the world, but said he was shocked that they had made their way from as far as Iraq into the Israeli library.
Bukeirat asked how Israel could display the gallery while it waged war on Islamic culture and heritage, saying he would never cooperate with the library.
“There is no way to cooperate with an organization that steals property,” said Bukeirat. “They have to bring it back to their original owners.”
Bukeirat warned that Muslims should not visit or take part in the gallery opening, which he called a form of cultural normalization.

Source and more at the PNN – Palestine News Network

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