The Good That Came Out Of A Torched Library

by
Sameera Ehteram
A tragedy in Lebanon has seen the community come together in the most beautiful way.

A tragedy in Lebanon has seen the community come together in the most beautiful way.

A huge library of books collected by a 72-year-old Greek Orthodox priest was set ablaze in Lebanon after the owner was accused of insulting Islam last week.

Father Ibrahim Sarrouj has managed the Al-Saeh Library in Tripoli, near Lebanon’s northern border with Syria, since 1972. He had painstakingly collected the books =and allowed the whole community to use the library irrespective of their belief or leaning.

Several reasons are being given for the atrocious act:

  1. A fatwa (religious edict) because of a ‘blasphemous’ article allegedly published by the priest on a Danish website in 2010.
  2. A sacrilegious pamphlet discovered inside one of the library’s books, resulting in a “sectarian scuffle’, which led to the torching of the library.
  3. A property dispute between Father Sarrouj and a businessman.

Father Sarrouj remains adamant he is innocent and even met Islamic leaders to clear his name.

Sadly, nothing could save that treasure-trove of books from being reduced to ashesWhatever the case may be, a trove of invaluable books and manuscripts has been reduced to ashes.

Father Sarrouj is widely known to be a humanist and a man who has spent his life promoting and practicing harmony.

What is good and hopeful side of the story is that a large number of locals joined in the clear-up at the library and even launched a fund to rebuild the library “better than it was”. Around two-thirds of the library’s estimated 80,000 books are thought to have been damaged.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. A large number of people gathered to clear up the debris and even launched a fund to rebuild the library “better than it was”.

The Father says that he forgave the perpetrators and that the “greatest victory” was the support from Christians and Muslims alike, as well as the harmony this had fostered.

Carbonated.TV