Australia has opened its first Islamic art museum, the Islamic Museum of Australia.
The museum is located in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, has five permanent gallery spaces: Islamic Faith, Islamic Art, Islamic Contribution to Civilisation, Islamic Architecture, and Australian Muslim History.
It also includes an exhibition centre that will host national and international exhibitions, educational resources and a café.
In a statement the Victorian government, which provided AUS$500,000 ($454,000) towards the not-for-profit museum, said it was intended to share the “rich artistic heritage of Muslims in Australia, by shining a light on the many contributions Muslims have made to culture and civilization throughout time”.
“We deeply value the Islamic community’s contribution to our State’s cultural scene and we have been very proud to support this project which showcases the contemporary and historical heritage of the Islamic faith,” Victorian government minister Louise Asher said.
“This museum will give the Victorian community an opportunity to discover and build a better understanding of Islamic arts, culture and heritage.”
There are about 500,000 Muslims in Australia, accounting for less than 2.5 percent of the population.
However it is one of the fastest growing religions in the country.
Australia was listed among the countries with the fastest growth in its Islamic population by the US-based Pew Research Centre in 2012. The number of Muslims in Australia was predicted to grow four times more quickly than non-Muslims (80 percent compared to 18 percent) over the next 20 years, particularly as instability in developing Islamic countries in Southeast Asia drove migrants and refugees to Australia.
Source: Arabian Business