More Egypt vandalism: the museum in Minya attacked and looted by Muslim Brotherhood

Minya_Malawi_Museum_2013_5From the Daily Mail (h/t Nebraska Energy Observer):

Looters ransack Egyptian antiques museum and snatch priceless artefacts as  armed police move inside stormed Cairo mosque

  • Museum in the Upper Egyptian city of  Minya was broken into on Thursday.
  • Ministry accused Muslim Brotherhood  supporters of breaking in.

Egypt’s famous Malawi National Museum has  been ransacked, looted and smashed up by vandals in another example of the  recent unrest in the country.

Photos of the damaged artefacts and empty  display cases were released this afternoon as supporters of deposed President  Mohamed Morsi fought a gunbattle with security forces in a Cairo  mosque.

According to a statement made by the Ministry  of Antiquities, the museum, in the Upper  Egyptian city of Minya, was allegedly broken into and some artifacts were  damaged and stolen on Thursday evening.

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It not yet clear what is missing – a list is  being compiled to ensure the artefacts are not smuggled out the country.

All of which is very bad.  But there is worse yet, improbable as it may seem.  At the bottom of the article we read:

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

We need hardly ask, in these days of political correctness, when expressing negative opinions about certain favoured groups is a matter for the police, why the proprietor of the newspaper has instructed his staff to ensure that ordinary mortals are not permitted to express their disgust.  What hope for the civilised world, when the defenders of it are not permitted even to object to the actions of the barbarians?

It is as if Luke Skywalker were not permitted to mention that Darth Vader had something to do with the Death Star.  Such a path must bring ruin on the world.

While we are still permitted to say anything — the BBC has omitted to report on all this — here are some more of the photos that the Mail posted.

Minya_Malawi_Museum_2013_1Minya_Malawi_Museum_2013_2Minya_Malawi_Museum_2013_3Minya_Malawi_Museum_2013_4

Update: I see no sign of BBC reporting this story.  Protect the Pope has a list of further attacks on churches, equally unreported.

Update2: With some difficulty, I eventually found a BBC story by John McManus, reporting on some of the attacks on churches, from yesterday (16 August 2013).  It’s not very good, nor very visible:

Egypt crisis: Churches ‘under attack’

At least 25 churches across Egypt have been attacked by arsonists in a wave of anti-Christian violence, a non-governmental group has said.

Homes and businesses have also been targeted, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) says.

Witnesses described the attackers as shouting slogans in support of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

But his Muslim Brotherhood supporters say it is the military regime that is instigating the violence.

It is impossible to say whether the decision to break up the pro-Morsi camps in Cairo was the trigger for the church attacks.

But Egypt’s minority religion has often borne the brunt of discrimination and violence from some Islamists.

The article does not state at any point who is actually doing the violence, preferring to suggest that these are claims by one group.

We should note the scare quotes in the heading, and the claim that violence is from “some Islamists”.   Perhaps the BBC could do a little more, and use its correspondents on the ground to investigate the facts?

11 Responses to “More Egypt vandalism: the museum in Minya attacked and looted by Muslim Brotherhood”


  1. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    Die folgende (etwas ältere Pressenotiz) passt zum traurigen Thema:

    Aton-Museum in Minya soll neue Besucherscharen nach Ägypten locken
    Donnerstag, 14.Juni 2012

    Das Museum, das 1998 ein Geschenk der Deutschen an die Ägyptische Regierung war und dessen Kooperationspartner das Museum in Hildesheim ist, ist weitgehend fertiggestellt. Ab 2013 können im neuen Aton-Museum in Minya Werke aus der Zeit Echnatons bestaunt werden.

    Das Museumsgelände liegt am Nilufer, so dass man vom Außenbereich aus den Nil überblicken kann. Dort soll auch ein Open Air Theater untergebracht werden, in dem berühmte Repliken stehen sollen. Das Gebäude selbst hat die Form einer Pyramide und wird auf 5 Etagen insgesamt 14 Ausstellungsräume, einen großen Konferenzsaal und eine Ausbildungsstätte für Restaurationen beherbergen.

    Laut Adel Abdel Satar, dem Leiter der Museumsabteilung des ägyptischen Antikenministeriums, soll das neue Atonmuseum eine große Sammlung von Werken zeigen, die mit dem Ketzerkönig Echnaton und seiner Frau Nofretete zu tun haben. Darunter sind z.B. Statuen des Königspaares, aber auch solche des Vaters, Amenhotep III. und dessen Frau Teje.

    Außerdem sollen in dem neuen Museum durch die diplomatischen Korrespondenzen auch die Beziehungen zu den Nachbarvölkern beleuchtet werden, die unter Echnatons Regierung ja stark vernachlässigt wurden. Daneben sollen auch eine Reihe von dekorierten Talatatblöcken ausgestellt werden. Talatat sind für die Amarnazeit typische, standardisierte Steinblöcke, mit denen z.B. in Amarna und Karnak die Tempel des Aton gebaut wurden.

    Wegen der guten Beziehungen zum Hildesheim Museum wird dieses die letzte Fertigstellungsphase nicht nur durch das Abstellen von Experten unterstützen, sondern vor allem durch ein Spendenprojekt, mit dem ein Teil der noch erforderlichen 60 Millionen Ägyptischen Pfund (7,5 Mio. Euro) erwirtschaftet werden soll, ließ der Antikenminister Mohamed Ibrahim verlauten.

  2. Roger Pearse

    Is it the same museum?

  3. Roger Pearse

    The report is from here. Google translate version of it:

    The following (slightly older press release) fits the sad topic:

    Aton Museum in Minya to attract new visitors flock to Egypt
    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    The museum, a gift from the Germans to the Egyptian government in 1998 and its cooperation partner is the Museum in Hildesheim, is largely completed. From 2013 works from the time of Akhenaten Aton can be admired in the new museum in Minya.

    The museum site is located on the banks of the Nile, so that you can look out over the Nile from the outside. There also an open air theater to be housed, will be in the famous replicas. The building itself has the shape of a pyramid and will accommodate a total of 14 exhibition rooms, a conference hall and a training center for restorations over 5 floors.

    According to Adel Abdel Satar, head of the department of the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities Ministry, is the new Atonmuseum a large collection of works show that have to do with the heretic King Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti. These include for example Statues of the royal couple, but also those of his father, Amenhotep III. and his wife Tiye.

    In addition to the new museum in the diplomatic correspondence and relations with neighboring peoples are illuminated, which were so badly neglected under Akhenaten’s government. In addition, a series of decorated Talatatblöcken to be issued. Talatat are typical of the Amarna period, standardized blocks of stone with which such at Amarna and Karnak, the Temple of the Aten were constructed.

    Because of the good relations with the Hildesheim Museum, this the last completion phase will support not only the parking of experts, but also by a donation project, with a portion of the still required 60 million Egyptian pounds (7.5 million euros) to be generated , was the Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim announced.

  4. suburbanbanshee

    The bonus is that Akhenaten was of course a monotheist, not a polytheist, so Muslims should be regarding him as a forerunner of their own faith and protecting a museum focused on him.

    But OTOH, the Salafist version of Islam is violently opposed to honor being paid even to tombs of famous Islamic people, so tomb goods of a monotheist also get to be destroyed.

    It’s amazing how the more destructive interpretations of Islam almost always come out on top. Especially if it enables Koran-justified plunder by the wannabe jihadis.

  5. Roger Pearse

    I think in every revolution the most violent tend to win out. Which is why revolutions are so often bad news.

    I would imagine that a good few Egyptians look back to the days of Mubarak with nostalgia. But … what did for Mubarak was the increase in population and rises in food prices. And that problem must be worse, not better, as the Egyptian economy collapses. Lots of hungry, unemployed young men.

    What Egypt needs, for than anything, is a war. Send all the loud people off to fight and get killed, and any government will find things calm down.

    Which is a scary thought.

    Perhaps they should reconquer the Sudan or something.

  6. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt

    I think it isthe same museum but I am not sure

  7. Roger Pearse

    Thanks. I’m not sure either: those display cases look rather old-fashioned to me. We’ll have to see if more details emerge.

  8. Anthony Alcock

    From the photos of the museum I would say that it looks like the one in Mellawi. I spent a year teaching librarianship at the university in Minya (1988). There has been tension for a long time between Christians and Muslims in the whole of Minya Governorate. While I was playing in a group at the Minya Etap, the keyboard player told me that a party he was playing at had been broken up by the Gama’at al-Islamiya. Now it’s the Muslim Brothers. Most of the coffins I remember seeing there were Middle Kingdom ones, from places like Deir el Bersha. The hideously tall Aten museum distracts attention from the fine Fatimid mosque in the city. The idea is probably from someone in Hildesheim.

  9. Roger Pearse

    Is the Aten museum a different museum, then?

    (Didn’t understand your last sentence — which idea?)

    There has always been fighting in middle Egypt, I think.

  10. Anthony Alcock

    The Minya museum is called the Aten Museum. The Mellawi museum has no name other than that of the town in which it is located. The idea to ‘donate’ the Aten Museum to Minya/Egypt probably originated in the Pelizäus Museum at Hildesheim. It might be worth considering this museum as a placatory gesture to the Egyptians in view of German intransigence to return the bust of Nefertiti, so felicitously spirited away from the country by Ludwig Borchardt, one of the excavators at Amarna. I cannot say how much fighting there has been or is in Middle Egypt. I know from first hand only of Christian-Muslim tension in the region.

  11. Roger Pearse

    Thank you very much for the clarification – that makes sense now.



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