The Ministry of Antiquities plans to turn over dozens of rare book seized two days ago at Cairo International Airport to the National Archives, officials said.
On Sunday, the Seized Antiquities Unit at Cairo International Airport impounded a collection of rare Islamic books destined for Qatar, on suspicion that they were illegally acquired.
Customs officers at Cairo airport seized 43 boxes of books and manuscripts, which appeared to be rare books that fall under the protection of Egypt's antiquities laws.
A committee led by Ahmed Al-Rawi, head of the Seized Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, determined that some of the seized books and manuscripts were authentic and not permitted to leave the country.
El-Rawi told Ahram Online on Tuesday that the seized volumes pertain to Islam and the Hadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammed. Some bear stamps from the Al-Azhar University library, he added.
After conducting a review of the material, El-Rawi said, the committee confirmed the authenticity of 66 rare volumes, finding out that some of the books date back to the early printing age.
The seized material will be sent to the Egyptian National Library and Archives, according to Egyptian law.
A set of 45 volumes bearing the Al-Azhar library stamp will be returned to the university, El-Rawi said, while the rest of the collection is not covered by laws.