Islamic Museum of Australia has raised over 1.95 million dollars at a gala dinner held on Sat 28 February, marking the first anniversary of its opening last year.
The Melbourne based Islamic Museum of Australia (IMA), the first and only of its kind in Australia has welcomed over 9000 visitors since it opened in February 2014, with almost half the patrons coming from an interfaith background.
The museum displays a variety of Islamic art including architecture, calligraphy, paintings, glass and textiles and has a number of interactive workshops and spaces with a main emphasis on Islam in the Australian context, looking at historical and modern influences.
The Saudi Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Nabil bin Mohammed Al Saleh announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia donated $1 Million in financial support to the IMA.
The Attorney General and Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop announced that “The Australian Government will contribute $500,000 to IMA to develop a new arts and culture education program to build social cohesion and cross cultural understanding”.
The national education program will aim to promote understanding amongst children and the general public about Islam in Australia, through the Museum’s collection of Islamic art and culture.
Such education programs would help build stronger communities by promoting understanding of different cultural beliefs and traditions, and develop a stronger appreciation of the positive contribution that different cultures would make to the rich fabric of Australian society.
The Australian Government’s continued support for the Islamic Museum of Australia is part of the ongoing strategy to promote and celebrate Australia’s diversity through the proud expression of art and culture.”
The Andrews Labor government of Victoria will provided a $450, 000 grant to the IMA’s educational program, which works to look at improving cross-cultural awareness and understanding about Islam and to celebrate a positive Australian Muslim identity.
Robin Scott MP, Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs, said “The Islamic Museum of Australia plays an important role in educating the community about Islam, its long and rich influence on art and culture, and the story of Muslims in Australia.” In his speech at the gala dinner, Robin Scott said “The Museum plays an important role in educating the community about Islam, its rich influence on art and culture, and the story of Muslims in Australia.”
The event was attended by a number of federal and state politicians, community leaders, entertainers, IMA staff and the general public.
Special guests and performers included Jon Faine, presenter of mornings on 774 ABC Melbourne, Maysaa Fahour, Islamic Museum of Australia Chairperson, Ahmed Fahour, CEO & MD of Australia Post, Nazeem Hussain, Comedian and Star of TV Show Legally Brown, Zohab Khan, Australian Poetry Slam Champion and The Brothahood, Internationally acclaimed Hip-Hop Group.
Also speaking at the event were foreign minister Julie Bishop, leader of the opposition Bill Shorten, Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott and the Saudi Ambassador Nabil bin Mohammed Al Saleh.
Second-generation Australian and IMA Founder and Director, Mr Moustafa Fahour, was this year awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the Museum and to the wider Australian society.
In their media release, IMA said “ A big thank you to all who attended our Annual IMA Fundraising Gala Dinner 2015. The performers were amazing and the special speakers were just superb and heartfelt. Thank you for the generous pledges and donations towards our centre.”