A man studies the Koran in a mosquein Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, central France on October 16, 2012.
A man studies the Koran in a mosquein Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, central France. A French auction house has withdrawn from sale a Koran manuscript that was taken from Cairo during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign at the end of the 18th century. © Jeff Pachoud - AFP/File
A man studies the Koran in a mosquein Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, central France on October 16, 2012.
AFP
Last updated: June 6, 2013

Koran auction halted after Egyptian protests

Egypt's Al-Azhar institute said on Thursday that legal measures were underway to recover a Koranic manuscript taken from Cairo in the 18th century during Napoleon's invasion.

French auction house Osenat withdrew the manuscript after the Egyptian embassy in Paris lobbied against its sale.

Al-Azhar, considered the most prestigious seat of Sunni Muslim learning, said legal measures were underway "to bring back the manuscript and other relics from Azhar's great human heritage."

The 47-page manuscript of the opening suras, or chapters, of the Islamic holy book was taken from Al-Azhar's mosque.

Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 triggered a revolt in Cairo and the mosque was the rebels' headquarters.

During an attack on the mosque, the manuscript was saved from being destroyed by fire by Jean-Joseph Marcel, an Orientalist who had accompanied Napoleon.

The manuscript now belongs to a private collector.

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