Why Is Saudi Arabia Borrowing Dozens of Egyptian Historical Artifacts?

Published November 18th, 2020 - 08:50 GMT
Why Is Saudi Borrowing Dozens of Egyptian Historical Artifacts?
The exhibition is said to celebrate the artistic aspects of Islamic architecture evident in historical mosques, many of which exist in Egypt. (Shutterstock: Merydolla)

In a tweet, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has announced signing a joint agreement with the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, through which the Saudi organization will borrow 84 artifacts from Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art collection for two years. However, some social media users protested the agreement and questioned the reason behind it.

In the statement, Ithra clarified that the artifacts loaned will be displayed in an upcoming art exhibition for two years in the city of Dhahran, to the east of Saudi Arabia.

The exhibition is said to celebrate the artistic aspects of Islamic architecture evident in historical mosques, many of which exist in Egypt. This exhibition is only part of extensive Saudi efforts to launch cultural and art-related activities in the country, as part of the government's plans to introduce social reforms in the country, along with the strategic plans to encourage tourists to visit the country.

Translation: "How come he [Egyptian president] didn't loan them Tiran and Sanafir as well?"

Translation: "Loaning Egyptian artifacts to Saudi for two years. This means Saudi has now taken over both our geography and history."

However, some Egyptian social media users reacted angrily to the news, saying that "authorities are giving Saudi Arabia everything." In their tweets, online people remembered the Egyptian decision to transfer sovereignty over the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in 2017, which was met by strong public opposition at that time. 

Translation: "So now they've borrowed all football players and it's artifacts' turn?"

At the same time, many tweets mocked the decision of loaning the Egyptian artifacts to Saudi, saying that "not only does the GCC country borrow Egypt's best talents to work in the country, including football players, but also historical artifacts seem to have found jobs there."


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