Quran withdrawn from sale
PARIS - Agence France-PresseA French auction house has withdrawn from sale a Quran manuscript that was taken from Cairo during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign at the end of the 18th century.
Auctioneers Osenat said they had decided not to proceed with the sale in light of strong opposition in Egypt and representations from Cairo’s embassy in Paris. “We are aware of the feelings that the proposed sale has provoked in Egypt and after friendly exchanges with the embassy, we decided to withdraw the manuscript from this weekend’s sale,” company director Jean-Pierre Osenat said.
“It is a decision we took independently,” he added, insisting that the auction house had not been subject to any kind of threat.
The 47-page manuscript of the opening suras, or chapters, of the Islamic holy book was taken from the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo by a Middle Eastern specialist who accompanied Napoleon on his Egyptian campaign. Egypt’s ambassador to France, Mohamed Moustafa Kamal, thanked Osenat for his understanding.