by Khaled Abu Toameh
The Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt, the largest and most significant library of the ancient world, is now being targeted by radical Muslims who seek to replace it with a mosque.
Radical Islamic groups claim that the library's art programs, which include music and ballet dancing, spread "depravity" in Egyptian society.
The Islamist campaign against the library is taking place under the looking eyes of Egypt's military dictators, who are burying their heads in the sand and refusing to see the danger, noted columnist Mohammed al-Hamamsi.
"Is the Supreme Military Council waiting until the Islamists come to power and demand, through their parliament, that the library be demolished and that a mosque be built on its site?" al-Hamamsi asked rhetorically.
The destruction of the library will mark the beginning of Egypt's fall into the hands of the Islamists, who seek to take the Arabs and Muslims back to dark ages.
Fears over the fate of the legendary library surfaced following a dispute between the director and the majority of his workers.
Director Ismail Serageldin has been under fire for his alleged affiliation with the former regime of President Hosni Mubarak and crackdown on freedom of speech in the library.
But he and many Egyptians are convinced that the campaign is part of a scheme by Muslim extremists to take control over one of the world's most important cultural and scientific institutions.
The campaign against the library is taking place on the eve of the first parliamentary election in the post-Mubarak era.
For the first time, the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist groups are contesting the elections, scheduled for November 28.
Arab journalists report that Alexandria, the second-largest city of Egypt with a population of more than four million, now appears to be under the full control of Muslim extremists.
Khaled al-Shami, a correspondent for the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said that visitors to the city could no longer ignore the "social, political and physical changes" that have taken place, first and foremost the large number of women covering their faces with the niqab [full head covering, not just the headscarf, hijab] and men wearing beards.
According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, "The Brotherhood have spent the last few months mobilizing their half-million plus members for intense electoral campaigns up and down the Nile river, which the group hopes will deliver it 40% of the seats in Parliament."
The paper pointed out that the Islamists have been "wooing voters not only with their trademark slogan of "Islam is the solution," but also with the tangibles of meat and vegetables that they sell to poor Egyptians at half the market prices."
The paper also found that in the months since the fall of Mubarak, "Brotherhood-friendly preachers have made their way back into some strategic mosques, using the podiums to recruit new converts and give confidence to hard-core supporters."
Needless to say, the majority of the mosque sermons focus on the need to "defend Islam against Jews, Christian crusaders and Western colonialism."
In simple words, the message coming out of Egypt's Islamists is that Israel, the US and the entire West remain the number one enemy of Muslims.
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