Edinburgh University has launched a campaign to collect books for Iraq's universities.
Yasir Suleiman of Edinburgh's Institute for the Study of the Arab World and Islam initiated the campaign. He said the universities had been badly hit by "mindless looting" and targeted theft. In the past 15 years, they have been unable to obtain much English language material. "Some of the material in Arabic is very poorly printed and the paper melts away in your hand," he said. Many scholars were having to sell their own books to raise funds.
Edinburgh has long-standing links with Iraq. Professor Suleiman, whose chair was endowed in 1982 by the University of Baghdad, said it had not yet proved feasible to establish contact with Iraqi universities.
Edinburgh University Press has donated its list of 1,400 titles and Stirling University's library is contributing recent science books to go to universities and academies throughout Iraq. The campaign is seeking financial donations to cover shipment.