Timbuktu: ancient seat of Islamic learning, home to thousands of precious Islamic manuscripts

  • Article by: KRISTA LARSON and MICHELLE FAUL , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 29, 2013 - 11:11 AM
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rexmanJan. 29, 13 1:12 PM

"It is not known how many of the priceless documents were destroyed by al Qaida-linked fighters who set ablaze a state-of-the-art library..."

Perhaps Obama was referring to the Arabs' 7th century razing of the Great Library of Alexandria when (during his Cairo speech) he so effusively praised Islam's many historical contributions to learning and the arts:

Caliph Umar declared that if the books the library contained agreed with the Koran, they were superfluous, and if they disagreed, they were heretical. In either event, they were worthless and should be obliterated.

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