Tight security measures needed to protect artefacts in Egypt's historic mosques: Antiquities ministry

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 2 Jan 2017

The Al-Refai mosque

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany headed on Monday an inspection tour of the mausoleums of King Fouad and Princess Feria at central Cairo's Al-Refai mosque, following the robbery on Sunday of six Islamic lamps that decorated the sites.

During the inspection, El-Enany said that the Ministry of Antiquities would be collaborating closely with the Ministry of Religious Endowments to ensure the highest level of protection for artefacts in Egypt's historical mosques.

El-Enany told Ahram Online that the mausoleums where the lamps were stolen are not used for prayers and are home to a number of historical artefacts. He said they should therefore be managed by the Ministry of Antiquities rather than the religious endowments ministry.

El-Eanay during the inspection tour

The Prosecutor-General's office is currently investigating the theft and questioning employees from the ministries of antiquities and religious endowments.

Alsaeid Helmy, head of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities at the ministry, said that a committee assigned Sunday to conduct an inventory of the mosque's artefacts has begun its work.

Helmy added that one of the stolen lamps has been replaced with a replica until the real ones can be recovered.

The stolen lamps date to 1911 (1328 Hegira), and are made of thick glass decorated with a Quranic verse from the Surah An-Nur written in Mameluke raised script.

The verse says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp.”

Fouad mausoleum


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