Education officials at the Fadl Private School in Giza burned over 60 books, said head of the Education Directorate in Giza Bothaina Kishk Monday.
The officials argued the books incite violence and adopt the “violent ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
The incident happened Monday morning, with the school’s headmaster and Kishk were photographed alongside a pile of burning books. The officials held Egyptian flags in the middle of the school’s playground.
Kishk told state television that burning the books is a “first step” towards the Minister of Education’s demand for a “guarantee that our children are raised the right way”.
Fadl is one of the many private schools of which the government took over administration, accusing them of being “managed by the Muslim Brotherhood”. Hundreds of schools and NGOs were either confiscated or closed by the Egyptian government, which feared they are controlled by the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
She added that a visit to the school was organised at the beginning of the month when she found some books “advocating the ideas of the Brotherhood”. Afterwards, a committee was organised to confiscate and burn the books.
The school released a statement saying the mentioned books were described by the officials as “advocating violence”, adding that the Ministry of Education is the sole responsible for this.
The school was placed under government control in March 2014, with a government official appointed to head the school’s administration.
Daily News Egypt received a government report from the ministry to “take away” the books. More than 60 books were mentioned, the majority of them discussing Islamic jurisprudence, women in Islam, the phenomenon of terrorism, and Islam in science.
Osama Rashidi, a leader in the Islamist Building and Development Party, condemned the incident, adding “they are burning Islamic books and are attacking the basics of the religion. They are they new Mongols”.
Rashidi was referring to the 1258 siege of Baghdad, during which the Mongols destroyed the majority of the city’s books and heritage.
“This is not a war against an Islamist group, but is a war against religion, which revealed the beliefs of the coup leaders,” he added.
However, Shawky Ragab, head of the media in the Islamist Istiqlal party told Daily News Egypt that “if looked at individually, the incident is meaningless. It can be seen as a haphazard measure by some officials”.
“Nevertheless, if the incident is put into the context of the education’s ministry’s steps to delete some parts of the Islamic religious curriculum, then the incident should be investigated and the officials should be punished,” Shawky said.