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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: In the 1920s, an urgent call went out to literati across the Middle East from Arab leaders in Jerusalem: Send us your books so that we may protect them for generations to come.Hamed Abu Teir, the library's manager, called the manuscripts a "treasure and trust". Among the collection are some 4,000 manuscripts, mainly donations from the private collections of Jerusalem families.Most of the manuscripts were donated in response to a call in the early 1920s from the Supreme Muslim Council, said Walid Ahmad, an education professor at Israel's Al-Qasemi Academic College who has researched the library. He said the council sought to prevent Arabs from selling old manuscripts to foreign and Jewish buyers and preserve the Islamic heritage in one of its holiest sites. Radwan Amro, who is leading the restoration process, said the best-known manuscript in the collection was written by Imam Mohammad al-Ghazali, an Islamic scholar from the 12th century.The manuscripts were stored in a library for the first few years of the 1920s, but when riots erupted in 1929 over disputes surrounding Jewish and Arab access to the sacred compound, the manuscripts were stored in bags and closets in a separate building nearby, Ahmad said.
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