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The Christians, Jews and pagans living in Alexandria could not have foreseen the crushing dark ages that would come with Islamic rule. And many Persians, Berbers and Copts still resent Islam for what it did to their cultural heritage. New York is the next Alexandria, Paris is the next Constantinople and London is the next Babylon.
When Muslims target our freedom of speech, when they tell us what we can say and think, they are acting as the vanguard of the new conquest. The Ground Zero Mosque is another Mosque of Omar, raised to celebrate the conqueror’s triumph in bringing down our great buildings and erecting their own mosque nearby.
The city of Alexandria once held many of the wonders of the ancient world. The Pharos Lighthouse, the Empire State Building of its day, was turned into a mosque by Muslims and then allowed to decay into ruin. Islamic rulers tore apart what was left of the building for their own projects. According to a story recounted by Al-Suyuti, the Caliph broke the lighthouse looking for the gold that he thought was buried under it and then could not get the lighthouse to work again. An apt metaphor for what Muslims are doing to the modern day wonders of the West.
Alexandria’s former multiculturalism has given way to Islamic dominance after the Arab-Muslim conquerors seized native women and converted them to their religion. Alexandria was once home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. Today it’s down to twenty-three people. But it’s not only the Jews who have vanished from Alexandria.
Life has become increasingly intolerable for Egypt’s Christians. In 2009, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life listed Egypt, along with Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia as having the most restrictions on religion. Of the ten countries that scored “Very High” along with Egypt, only two, China and Burma, were non-Muslim. That was in the Mubarak era, the rise of the Brotherhood means that Copts, Bahai and other minorities will be able to look back on those days with nostalgia before the unfiltered version of Islam held sway over Egypt.
Al-Azhar University’s Islamic Research Council already controls what books may be published. It has succeeded in banning books directly through legal channels or through rioting and threats. Islamic pressure has resulted in the censorship of even the American University library. And the IRC has the power to seize books, magazines and other materials that violate Islamic codes. How long until the IRC’s power extends directly into the Library of Alexandria? Not very long.
Three years before the UNESCO design competition for the new Library of Alexandria began, an Egyptian court confiscated three thousand copies of “One Thousand and One Nights”. If one of the classics of Arabic literature could be seized that way and its publisher prosecuted, then any lesser book could.
The Library is a relic of the Mubarak era and it is easy for Islamists to make the case against an expensive building full of heretical books while the population doesn’t have enough to eat. The question isn’t whether Islam will burn the Library of Alexandria a second time around, but of when it will get around to pouring the gasoline and lighting the flames.
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