A Christian library in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli was intentionally burned down on Friday night after its owner, a Greek Orthodox priest, was falsely accused of writing an article insulting Islam and the prophet Mohammed.
Assailants set fire to the Saeh Library, destroying two-thirds of the collection of 80,000 books and manuscripts, the French news agency Agence France-Presse reported.
Father Ibrahim Surouj, a Greek Orthodox priest who owns the library was earlier accused of writing a pamphlet that was insulting to Islam and the prophet Mohammed, a Lebanese security source told AFP.

The unnamed source said that later, however, “it became clear the priest had nothing to do with the pamphlet.”
In an interview on Lebanese television on Saturday, Father Surouj said he forgives those responsible and prays for peace in Tripoli, Ya Libnan reported.
Outrage After Lebanon Christian Library with 80,000 Books Is Burned Down After Fatwa Was Issued Against It
f Several blogs and social media users said this photo shows the library as it burned. TheBlaze is unable to verify its veracity (Image: A Separate State of Mind blog)
Lebanon’s Daily Star reported that “civil defense teams struggled to put out the flames which engulfed the bookstore,” calling the site “one of Lebanon’s most renowned libraries.”
Even Muslim leaders defended the priest against the accusation he had written an anti-Muslim article. Salafist Sheikh Salem al-Rafei told reporters he would like to see Lebanese security forces prosecute those who incited the arson attack.
“I call on [security agencies] to prosecute those who incited, ordered and issued a fatwa in favor of the attack rather than the fervent boys who carried out the attack,” Rafei said.
The former head of Internal Security Forces Ashraf Rifi echoed the assessment that the arson attack resulted from rumors about an article insulting the prophet Mohammed.
Internal Security Forces Brig. Imad Ayyoubi dismissed the allegations against the Christian leader.
“Father Surouj has nothing to do with the article and the source of the website is from Denmark and was published on Jan. 7, 2010,” Ayyoubi said, adding that investigators believe they know who perpetrated the attack.
Hundreds of Lebanese citizens demonstrated Saturday in Lebanon’s second largest city in support of the priest, while others volunteered to try to salvage books and rebuild the library.

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