Public Statement by Ismail Serageldin

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Alexandria, 4 December—The following statement is attributable to the Director of the Library of Alexandria, Dr. Ismail Serageldin:  “Recent press reports concerning the presence of the first Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in an exhibition in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina deserve a prompt and clear reply. Preliminary investigation determined that the book was briefly displayed in a showcase devoted to rotating samples of curiosities and unusual items in our collection. The book was never displayed alongside the Jewish Torah nor has it ever been stated that it is a holy book or the basis for a Jewish constitution. The book is a well-known 19th century fabrication to foment anti-Jewish feelings.  “The book was promptly withdrawn from public display, but its very inclusion showed bad judgment and insensitivity, and an internal administrative hearing is underway to determine whether further action is to be taken.  “The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is profoundly committed to its role as a center of learning and a place promoting tolerance, dialogue and understanding between peoples, cultures and civilizations. We are honored to work with distinguished international partners in promoting these universal ideals”.