On the occasion of opening of Naguib Mahfouz Museum in Al-Azhar district, I remembered the day 14 October 1994 in the Nile Street in Agouza and under the giant eucalyptus tree, where a friend of the great writer Naguib Mahfouz was waiting to pick him up in order to take him to the weekly seminar at the Casino of the Palace of the Nile. At five o’clock, Mahfouz leaves his office and meets with his friend.
Suddenly, a man holding a knife attacks Mahfouz inside the car and stab him in the neck trying to slain him before the assailant flees. Mahfouz was moved quickly to the police hospital very close to his house.
Two days later, the police arrested the perpetrator Mohammed Naji, who said he tried to kill Mahfouz because he defamed Islamic religion in the novel ‘The children of our neighborhood’. He added that he doesn’t regret doing this.
Mahfouz said commenting on the success of the police in arresting the offender: "The police may have won a battle ... but I am afraid that the entire society has lost the war."
I will visit the museum with my family since the novels of Naguib Mahfouz are stories of the Egyptian society and its longing for justice and freedom and its struggle against tyranny and backwardness.