Cultural awareness dept. set up to curb violations on ancient mosques
Jun. 16, 2015 14:40
By Rany MostafaCAIRO: Ministry of Antiquities has created a new department aiming at raising awareness among school students of the importance of Islamic sites located in residential areas.
“The move aims to curb violations committed on daily basis outside historical mosques located along Al-Mu’iz Street and al-Darb al-Ahmar district. The new department started to dispatch fresh graduate Egyptian archaeologists to primary and preparatory schools in Cairo to raise the cultural awareness of the students,” head of the Coptic and Islamic Monuments Department at the Antiquities Ministry Mohamed Abdel Latif told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Following the 2011 uprising and its consequent security lapse, several archaeological sites, especially in Islamic Cairo, have been dreadfully abused. Photos of piles of garbage surrounding mosques along with residential buildings being built in proximity to archaeological sites of interest in highly populated areas became common.
“This is a blatant violation of Article 20 of the Antiquities Law, which bans any kind of construction around of nearby archaeological sites,” Sally Solaiman, founder of the “Save Cairo” Facebook group, told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Regarded as one of the poorest areas in Cairo, al-Darb al Ahmar is the home to more than 65 historical monuments, including mosques and buildings dating back to different periods of Egypt’s Islamic history.
The newly established department works in cooperation with the Education Ministry to organize sightseeing for school students to many of the violated archaeological sites, Latif said.
“We have already arranged guided sightseeing for primary school students who were fascinated with the Egyptian Islamic culture. By the end of the tours, several students offered to participate in raising public awareness about the significance of these monuments by creating Facebook pages,” said Latif.
The ministry also coordinates with Cairo governorate and the Interior Ministry to remove encroachments around the mosques in Islamic Cairo.