Tripoli Figures Condemn Torching Famed Library as Father Sarrouj 'Forgives Attackers'

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  • W460
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Several northern leaders condemned on Saturday the torching of Father Ibrahim Sarrouj's historical library in the northern city of Tripoli, considering that this act does not conform to the teachings of Islam.

Hundreds of civil society members also took to the streets of Tripoli to protest the torching of a decades-old library owned by the Greek Orthodox priest.

The demonstrators held up banners that read "Tripoli, peaceful town" and "This is contrary to the values of the Prophet," in reference to the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Father Sarrouj announced that he "forgives those that burned down the library."

"I pray for God to protect Tripoli,” OTV quoted him as saying.

LBCI television revealed that two people were behind setting the library on fire, and that security bodies were able to identify them.

"They will be detained by Sunday,” it added.

The torching of the al-Saeh Library came after reports claimed that the father had published an article deemed insulting to Islam.

However, Internal Security Forces commander in Tripoli General Bassam al-Ayoubi announced at a press conference that Sarrouj has “absolutely no links to the published article.”

"The perpetrators will be penalized,” al-Ayoubi assured.

Sarrouj and other northern figures were also present at the press conference.

Tripoli Salafist cleric Sheikh Salem al-Rafei stressed that “Islam denounces any unjust act against anyone.”

He noted: “Some groups want to incite sedition between Muslims and Christians in Tripoli.”

"Christians have never migrated from the city and this will not change. We will keep living side-by-side.”

Meanwhile, northern MP Robert Fadel stated that Tripoli will always remain a city of religious coexistence, adding that “no local or regional problems will change this reality.”

He continued: “Security forces know the suspects behind the attack and we demand arresting him as this is the only way to deal with this incident.”

Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malek al-Shaar offered his consolation to Father Sarrouj.

“This cannot happen and these acts that incite strife must be stopped,” he said addressing security forces.

He added: “Security forces must disclose the names of the attackers behind this awful crime as well as their political and religious affiliation until they get the punish they deserve.”

Al-Shaar also insisted that the torching of the library “does not conform to Islam.”

“To Christians I say that this attack is not against them and we are ready to embrace them.”

Earlier in the day, former ISF chief Ashrad Rifi assured that Tripoli “will bear the responsibility of rebuilding the library.”

"We insist that Father Sarrouj and his library must be present in the city to protect our heritage and religious coexistence,” he said.

He remarked that the library was not entirely burned, saying that, nevertheless, the “loss is huge.”

Rifi explained that the study that tackles Islam and Prophet Mohammed, and which was rumored to have been written by Sarrouj was actually prepared by a non-Lebanon national called Ahmed al-Qadi.

"It has no links to Sarrouj,” he revealed.

"Sarrouj is a cleric that lived his entire life in Tripoli, communicating with all its residents and his writings prove his respect to religious values, dialogue, and religious coexistence.”

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Miqati also condemned the incident, stating his rejection to “any offenses and reactions against Tripoli and its residents.”

Former premier Fouad Saniora considered burning the library a “suspicious crime.”

"Those behind the attack are serving the enemies of Lebanon and distorting the image of Tripoli by portraying it as a city of extremists.”

The Orthodox Archdiocese in Tripoli and Koura considered that “agents of sedition that have been extending to Tripoli were able to fabricate lies and accusations and blame an article on Father Sarrouj, although he has nothing to do with.”

"We urge concerned authorities to conduct a transparent probe to unveil the perpetrators, try them and penalize them,” a released statement said.

"They need to become aware of the fact that attacking the city and subjecting it to dangers is a crime and that they will never achieve their goal.”

The Archdiocese expressed also that this is an attack on “culture, wisdom and on humans.”

"It reminds us of the torching of the libraries of Baghdad and Alexandria and of what followed afterward like ignorance and degeneration,” the statement said.

A meeting for the March-14 affiliated Tripoli Declaration committee was held in al-Mustaqbal MP Mohammed Kabbara's northern house to tackle this issue.

“March 14 condemns and deplores the attack that only signals the immoral character of the perpetrators,” Kabbara said after the talks, stressing that March 14 forces “insist on religious coexistence in Tripoli.”

He added: “It is security's forces' duty to unveil the attackers and the instigators and punish those that were negligent in protecting people's properties.”

Kabbara said that “nothing stands in the way of implementing the Tripoli Declaration.”

“We all stress on the necessity to end the spread of weapons because this has become a must to protect religious coexistence.”

March 14 forces general-secretariat coordinator Fares Souaid also highlighted the the importance of religious coexistence in Tripoli.

“We are Lebanese people against any Christian, Sunni and Shiite extremism,” he said.

Caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami “strongly” deplored torching the library, accusing political leaders, the educated and the social elite and the silent majority of accepting to transform Tripoli into a “refuge for outlaws.”

Addressing Sarrouj, he said: “Do not ask for someone's permission, for a permit of stay, or for fake security measures. You are from the city and your presence is a priority.”

Friday evening's attack left the shelves and walls of the library charred.

Bashir Hazzouri, an employee at the library, was shot and wounded on Thursday in the old souks of Tripoli.

Al-Saeh Library is considered one of the most renowned libraries in Tripoli and the second largest in Lebanon.

Sarrouj says the library contains more than 80,000 books.

Comments 25
Thumb Mystic 04 January 2014, 17:38

Just like the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to destroy the Pyramids in Egypt, the takfiris wants to do the same everywhere, destroy every historical items and sites.

Default-user-icon nobody (Guest) 04 January 2014, 19:21

What is your opinion on forcing alcohol shops to close in Nabatiye?

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 04 January 2014, 22:07

Mystic - where do you come with your baseless claims from?

Missing greatpierro 04 January 2014, 18:02

That is the trouble with Islam

Thumb Mystic 04 January 2014, 18:52

Pierro there is a difference between, Normal muslims, and the takfiris who committed these crimes.

Thumb cityboy 04 January 2014, 21:40

This act proves once again that the takfiris are working on behalf of the Christian Zionists. One of their aims is to destroy any semblance of Arab culture and history. One of the first things that took place after the Iraqi invasion was to loot the famous Iraqi museums. In Syria age old churches and Mosques have been destroyed. I am not surprised to hear that the MB wanted to destroy the pyramids of Egypt.

Thumb proudm14 05 January 2014, 00:27

you should be surprised about the claim that MB wanted to destroy the pyramids because they never claimed as such nor acted towards doing so. you bought mystic's taqiya lie that he just made up on the spot.

Thumb cedre 05 January 2014, 00:22

Symbiosis coz under christian control, no amal and HA control.
Christians are better to sunnis than khomeynists to sunnis...

Thumb lebanon_first 05 January 2014, 10:01

Exactly cedre. You nailed the reason

Thumb -phoenix1 04 January 2014, 18:38

Deploring and condemning are not enough, they make a good start, but to solve the problem, finding, arresting and jailing the sod/s who did it will go a long way to prove that Tripoli is a victim of a situation, just like most of the Middle East. However here's the catch, to accept a situation is to accept defeat, to fight a situation is to prove that we Lebanese are above it.

Thumb zahle1 04 January 2014, 18:57

This is the type of freedom that M14 is going to bring to our country. This is why I no longer blindly follow M14. I understand they want to weaken Syrian influence in Lebanon, what Syria did to us when the occupied our country, and the fear of HA arms being used in our country. However, they are not picking their allies wisely.

Missing ArabDemocrat.com 04 January 2014, 22:11

Zahle - the takfiris are more threat to m14 than anyone else. M8 has a powerful militia. M14 does not.

Missing coolmec 04 January 2014, 23:59

prime suspect
who is??

Missing bigjohn 04 January 2014, 23:49

"Minister Faisal Karami “strongly” deplored torching the library, accusing political leaders, the educated and the social elite and the silent majority of accepting to transform Tripoli into a “refuge for outlaws.”.....................How true!!!

Missing coolmec 04 January 2014, 23:57

bigjohn
He is from Tripoli what is he doing about it a part from 'deploring" it?

Missing bigjohn 05 January 2014, 03:33

good question...he does not hold much influence and power in Tripoli. Hariri and his supporters do. That is who he is criticizing.

Missing gabby14 05 January 2014, 01:00

Islam, they always say they are peaceful, but in centuries show no proof. Notice it was Muslims who burned immediately on a rumor, and it was the Christian who immediately forgave. Frankly, all the Muslims of Tripoli were Greek Orthodox before the Turks came. If they want to know true peace like the priest showed, they should start a movement to convert back to their roots.

Missing bigjohn 05 January 2014, 03:31

If you look at the genocides since the 20th century, you have the Turkish secular nationalists against the Armenians, Hitler secular nationalist (from a Catholic background), an Atheist Stalin against the Ukrainians, The Guatemalan "Christian" regime against the Native Indians, The Christian Hutus against the Christian Tutsis, The Serb Nationalists against the Muslim Bosniaks, etc etc...The Takfiris are a new phenomenon...thank god they are a small number, but we need to denounce those who support them...

Missing gabby14 05 January 2014, 01:02

The same goes for the Hezz followers. All Nass ever says involves killing, war and death. Bloody heads on Ada etc. Peaceful??????

Missing michael961 05 January 2014, 06:31

I'm from Tripoli.. I'm sock and tired of our leaders they talk and talk but nothing happens.. Armed thugs have taken over and enforcing the version of sharia law. I don't want to live in an Islamic sjaria state ibwant the Lebanon we all want.. Free..hezbollah may have intervened in Syria but they are the only ones who can take on alqaeda takfiri. Politicality I support m14 but I'm starting to change my views.. Lets close ranks cut ties with Saudi Arabia and unite.. Dialogue dialogue dialogue. Coz if we don't we will have to live the nightmare again.. Haven't we had enough

Thumb bananasplit 05 January 2014, 07:42

"Meanwhile, Father Sarrouj announced that he "forgives those that burned down the library.""
Forgiveness....when have we ever heard of such a thing ever happening in Lebanon?
What an inspiring man and I wish we cold have more truly religious and spiritual people instead of criminals who say they are following "Allah's/Gods orders" to kill and deceive. Thank you, Father Sarrouj, for your incredible grace and dignity.

Thumb lebanon_first 05 January 2014, 10:05

Banana. The fact that father Sarrouj, God bless him, forgave the perpetrators is the biggest message of this news. But people drowning in partisan politics dont see that.

Missing gabby14 05 January 2014, 08:20

How we wish Bananasplit. The Hezz are taking over by assassination and terror inside the country. Now they are in an illegal war in Syria inviting the Sunnis who want to feed them another Karbela. Everyone else is screwed. The bottom line is the Hezz are to blame. 2006, 2008, the war the joined now, and all the assassinations the did and pretend they didnt.

Default-user-icon Cynico (Guest) 05 January 2014, 13:04

All these declarations and condemnations are total hypocrisy going on about Fr Sarrouj not being behind some anti-Islam article. Even if he were, does that mean anyone is allowed to torch a library and shoot its employee? Proper medieval and discusting!

Default-user-icon George Mikhael (Guest) 07 January 2014, 06:56

Does Muhammad need people on the ground to defend him? do Islam defend themselves by burning libraries and shoot people?