Spanish church wins its fight to prevent sale of Islamic treasures

Spanish solicitors win case


One of the most important Islamic buildings in the Western world has won its legal challenge to prevent several of its treasured beams from being sold at auction. The Church of Cordoba in Spain, which is the site of the Great Mosque, instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell, who threatened an injunction against Christies of London to prevent the sale and proceedings to establish ownership of the beams. The Church wants the return of five beams from the roof of the Great Mosque. They were scheduled for auction tomorrow. The Church argued that the beams should not be sold as they have strong grounds to assert that the Church retains ownership of the beams.

Acting on behalf of the Church, Irwin Mitchell have today persuaded Christies to withdraw the beams from sale in the Arts of the Islamic and Indian Worlds auction scheduled for tomorrow (4th April). The inclusion of the Umayyad Andaluscian wooden beams was to have been the highlight of tomorrows auction. The Church of Cordoba is built inside the Great Mosque, which has, over the centuries, seen significant changes to the buildings structure under the Governorship of both Christians and Moors. The beams themselves are beautifully carved and date back to the 10th Century.

Spanish dispute resolution

Jonathan Wheeler of Irwin Mitchell who, with his colleague Jose Maria De Lorenzo, is representing the Church of Cordoba said The beams from the Great Mosque of Cordoba are part of one of the most important monuments in the world. They are of great cultural and religious importance to Spain. The Cathedral of Cordoba has received great public support in their efforts to prevent their sale by auction in London and to recover them. I am delighted that we have been able to prevent their sale and we will be discussing with Christies their true ownership and, if necessary, will no doubt be instructed to take steps to recover them.

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