Australia’s first museum devoted to Islamic culture, designed by Sharjah-based Desypher Architecture, is now open to the public
A delegation from the UAE Government was on hand in Melbourne to see the result of four years work by Moustafa and Maysaa Fahour, an Australian couple living in Dubai.
The Islamic Museum of Australia in the suburb of Thornbury was declared open by Australian treasurer Joe Hockey.
“The support that we have tonight is phenomenal,” said Moustafa Fahour. “I heard a comment today where someone said that we as Australian Muslims feel proud that we contributed to this country.
“And to hear people from other faiths say the museum was amazing is, for me, the ultimate goal.”
The Fahours began the project in 2010 as a way to counter what they considered negative stereotypes directed at Australian Muslims.
And even when Moustafa Fahour accepted a job offer from Dubai construction company Leighton Holdings they still managed the project.
The couple signed up Etihad Airways and Leighton Holdings as principle partners and Dubai design company North 55 was also enlisted. Jumeirah Beach Residence shop Gallery One was chosen to supply the in-house gift store.
One gallery – focusing on the tenets of the faith – features the call to prayer recited by music legend Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, who also lives in Dubai.
Included in a gallery of the world’s greatest mosques is an illuminated panel with a large image of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi.
“I spent a week in the UAE last year and it was fantastic,” Hockey recalled during the opening. “I visited the Grand Mosque and it was immensely incredible. It’s really something that needs to be seen.
“Australia and the UAE have a very deep relationship with many ties. We are definitely brothers and partners.”