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Islamic Art Museum opens

His Majesty King Hamad yesterday attended the opening ceremony of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha on the invitation of the Amir of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

He was welcomed at the airport by International Co-operation Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Bahraini Ambassador Khalid Mossalam and other officials.

UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and Hollywood actor Robert De Niro were among the Gulf leaders and Arab and foreign celebrities present.

The museum aims to show that Islam is a religion of "tolerance", guests were told at the ceremony.

Built on an artificial island 60 metre from the Doha Corniche, it houses 800 artistic and historical treasures from three continents, illustrating Islamic culture from the seventh to the 19th centuries.

"We want to show that Islam is a peaceful civilisation, which has always called for tolerance and co-existence amongst different peoples," Qatar Museums Authority president and the Amir's daughter Shaikha Al Mayassa said.

"Islam is a religion of tolerance, knowledge and civilisation and not of terrorism."

Qatar wants to "highlight the values of the Muslim civilisation and its role in bringing together cultures and human values," she said.

"The museum is the first stage in a project aimed at making Doha a world-famous cultural capital," Authority's executive president Abdullah Al Najjar said. The five-storey building, designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, whose projects include the Pyramide du Louvre in Paris, also houses exhibition halls, a library and an education centre.



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