- Middle East/North Africa
The Arab League hosted on Monday the second international conference on "Archaeological Heritage in the Arab World", organized by the Faculty of Archaeology at Fayoum University.
The conference was attended by Arab League Chief Nabil al-Araby, Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany, Fayoum University Chief Khaled Hamza, Archaeology Faculty Dean Atef Mansour and Azhar Deputy Abbas Shouman.
Araby laid out the challenges involved in restoring the head of Nefertiti statue, currently located in Germany, due to a lack of strict laws concerning the restoration of smuggled antiquities.
The Arab League will draft a resolution that criminalizes the theft of antiquities from any Arab country, on the grounds that Arab antiquities are shared world heritage. The issue is of utmost importance at this time, in light of recent terrorist attacks that have devastated many monuments and artifacts in the region, Araby stressed.
He announced that the 27th of February of every year will be a day of reviving Arab cultural heritage. The date has been selected as it marks the day antiquities of Mosul were destroyed in Iraq. He added that the league will be taking severe action against the terrorist group Islamic State, who seek to obliterate all human heritages in Arab countries.
Araby stressed that the antiquities of the Arab World are a source of pride for the Arab nations.
Meanwhile, Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa prohibiting attacks on Arab heritage, refuting the idea that the preservation of un-Islamic artifacts goes against Islam. He stressed the necessity for the Arab League to draft a law that criminalizes attacks on antiquities everywhere as a crime against humanity.
Anany pointed out that historically, the Islamic civilization respected ancient Egyptian antiquities, and announced that the ministry will issue a book in different languages on antiquities that were reused within Islamic civilization. He called on all international organizations to protect antiquities worldwide.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm