Louvre opens long-awaited Islamic Wing

News Agencies – September 20, 2012

 

France’s Louvre Museum is unveiling a new wing devoted to Islamic art, with the long-gestating project debuting during a period of increased tension with the Muslim community over a French publication’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Louvre’s new addition, which cost nearly 100 million euros (about $127 million Cdn) is its biggest project since the famed Parisian art museum unveiled its I.M. Pei-designed, now-iconic glass pyramid in 1988. The dragonfly-shaped new galleries will showcase a rotating display of artifacts from the Louvre’s collection of Islamic art, which includes pieces dating from as far back as the 7th century.

The museum first opened its Islamic art department in 2003, during the tenure of former French president Jacques Chirac, who urged a “dialogue of cultures” to break down walls between religions. France is home to more than four million Muslims, western Europe’s largest Muslim population.

However, an expansion was necessary because the Louvre did not have enough space to display what has grown to become a vast collection of Islamic art, including treasures donated by King Mohammed VI of Morocco and the foundation of Saudi Prince Waleed Bin Talal.

 

Advisor to King Mohammed VI calls for new Euro-Mediterranean partnership built on knowledge

MAP, March 20, 2012
Andre Azoulay, adviser to King Mhammed VI, called, on Monday night in Rome, for a new Euro-Mediterranean partnership built on fairness, ambition, parity, respect and above all mutual knowledge.
Azoulay stressed the need for all partners in the region to build together a space governed by a new road map and common rules of coexistence.
Europe, which is struggling to accommodate the cultural diversity, must overcome its fears and stop being cautious, he insisted to an audience composed of ambassadors, businessmen, bankers, MPs and economic organizations’ officials.

Morocco invites 100 imams to Spain for meeting

Morocco has called over 100 imams in Spain to take part in a meeting aimed at fighting Islamic radicalism among Moroccan immigrants. The meeting, which took place in Marrakesh, discussed “the organization of Moroccan immigration in Spain from the religious point of view.” Moroccan King Mohammed VI launched a religious reform initiative to fight radicalism, which included plans for a special council concerning Moroccans living abroad.

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