Commission preparing report for UNESCO on Museum of Islamic art

A commission formed by Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim has started its task of creating an account of the damage done to the artefacts at the Museum of Islamic art after the bombing of the nearby Cairo Security Directorate last Friday.

In addition, the minister announced that the finance ministry had approved the opening of an official account under the name “Saving Egyptian Heritage” to receive domestic and international donations dedicated to financing various restoration projects. These would apply not only to the most recent damage, but to all buildings and artefacts damaged in unrest since the 25 January Revolution.

Ibrahim stressed the importance of the collaboration between all stakeholders, be they governmental or social agencies, to save Egypt’s heritage. The plan comes within the framework of the ministries’ efforts to save the Museum of Islamic Art, which is considered one the most important Islamic museums in the world. Donations will be dedicated to rehabilitate the building of the museum itself and restoring the artefacts that were on display inside the museum.

The antiquities minister noted that the project would require millions of Egyptian pounds to restore the buildings and artefacts to their previous conditions, just as the Ministry of Antiquities is facing a recession in its income due to the shortage of tourism. This, Ibrahim said, would “require a grand social participation in order to save Egypt’s treasures.”

Ibrahim also said a board would be formed from Egyptian and foreign heritage experts and members from UNESCO to supervise the established fund and determine the priorities of disbursement.

The commission is in the midst of creating a photographic report to showcase the damage done to the museum’s collection to sway public opinion, Ibrahim said, preceding renovation efforts to the artefacts and the 111 year old building. Ibrahim added that the report would be presented to UNESCO’s Cairo office as soon as it is complete in order to determine the needed level of funding.

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