Rare Islamic artefacts `disappear` in Egypt

A cabinet containing over 83 rare Islamic artefacts was discovered in 1993.

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2010, 10:39 AM IST

Cairo: Less than a month after a Van Gogh painting was stolen from a museum here, a cabinet containing more than 83 rare Islamic artefacts has disappeared.

Farouk Hosni, Egyptian Minister of Culture, said it has not yet been determined exactly when the cabinet disappeared but an inspection of the ministry`s stores is underway to identify if there are any other missing pieces.

The minister added that the officials whose negligence led to the theft will be held accountable and punished.

The cabinet, discovered in October 1993, includes 83 rare pieces by Egyptian and Ottoman artists who documented the different styles of Arabic calligraphy since the rise of the Islamic state up to the beginning of the 20th century.

The oldest piece is believed to date back to 1558 and the most recent to 1916.

Analysts expect this incident will lead to the impeachment of Hosni who has been in office for around 20 years, during which time many thefts and scandals occurred in the Culture Ministry.

More than 100 prominent people from the fields of culture and politics have signed a petition requesting Hosni be removed from his post.

PTI