Hundreds of Lebanese took to the streets of the northern city of Tripoli on Saturday to protest the torching of a decades-old library owned by a Greek Orthodox priest.
The demonstrators held up banners that read “Tripoli, peaceful town” and “This is contrary to the values of the Prophet,” in reference to the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.
Assailants set alight the Saeh library belonging to Father Ibrahim Surouj on Friday night, destroying two-thirds of the 80,000 books and manuscripts it stored, a security official told AFP.
The attack came a day after “a pamphlet was discovered inside one of the books at the library that was insulting to Islam and the prophet Mohammad,” the official said at the time.
Later, however, “it became clear the priest had nothing to do with the pamphlet,” said the same source. “Then on Friday night, the library was torched,” he added.
The attack left the shelves and walls of the library charred.
But the Greek Orthodox priest forgave those responsible for the attack, in a statement aired on television on Saturday.