A Journey Through the Islamic Faith

A Journey Through the Islamic Faith
Updated 20 June 2012

A Journey Through the Islamic Faith

A Journey Through the Islamic Faith

In 1993, a group of like-minded British Muslim university students and professionals decided to put their brains together to create a unique exhibition concept where they could showcase the Islamic faith. The idea was to present Islam in a modern and professional manner that would reflect the faith positively in modern Europe.
What was born out of their collective passions is for millions to see today: Exhibition Islam, an independent, non-profit making, UK registered charity that specializes in promoting a greater understanding of Islam using alternative educational resources that are delivered through ‘museum style’ exhibitions.
Together with The Islamic Cultural Centre, and the Saudi-based Global Commission for Introducing the Messenger, Exhibition Islam will launch ‘A Journey Through the Islamic Faith’ exhibition during the London Cultural Olympics 2012 and will include the ‘Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – Mercy to Mankind’ exhibition gallery. In addition, the organization aims to distribute over 20,000 high quality, illustrated booklets about the Islamic faith at some of the major tourist spots during the London Games, for which it is seeking donations.
Arab News chats up with Team Exhibition Islam to know more about the unique initiative that seeks to realize the flourishing prospect of representing Islam in the UK.

Was the founding of Exhibition Islam a result of an event or the need to counter long established Muslim stereotypes?
The exhibition was not launched as a result of a reaction, but rather was a forward-looking concept that attempted to stretch the ambitions and raise the standards in the delivery of Islamic presentation.

How is Exhibition Islam different from all other Islamic exhibitions?
Exhibition Islam delivers a unique event that is based upon a ‘museum’ style set-up. The exhibition is structured upon a number of themed zones, which take the visitor on a journey through the Islamic faith. Topics discussed in the exhibition include basic Muslim creed, the Prophets of Islam, the history of the Noble Qur’an, Muslim contribution to civilization, Women in Islam and Living Islam. The messages of these themes are transmitted through the use of the latest graphic designs, short documentary presentations, historic artifact collections and interactive models.

Did you have to face any obstacles?
As expected, this fresh approach to the delivery of Islamic knowledge was not fully appreciated by a community that was still accustomed to more traditional and cultural modes of Islamic presentation. Regardless, by the turn of the new millennium, Exhibition Islam was fast emerging as the leading exhibition provider in the field.

Who are the target audience of the exhibition during the Olympics?
The target audience of the exhibition is the global community that is expected to visit London for the London Games 2012. London is expecting close to 1 million international visitors and Exhibition Islam are taking this opportunity to introduce visitors to Islam and to interact with the Muslim community in London. At the same time, the exhibition will welcome visitors from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds.

How popular is Exhibition Islam in and outside the UK?
Exhibition Islam has attracted just over 1 million visitors over the past 10 years, and has displayed at over 1200 venues including events in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. On average, Exhibition Islam showcases its exhibition 100 times a year, and covers the length and breadth of the country.
Exhibition Islam has also published a range of three bestselling publications, which include: The Islam Guide, Among His Signs, which focuses on the scientific aspects of the Qur’an, and The History of the Magnificent Qur’an, a nearly 6 kg masterpiece, which displays hundreds of stunning and exclusive photos of Qur’anic manuscripts dating back to the 8th Century from around the world.
Recently, this book was highly praised in an article in a Saudi publication, “Al-Thaqafiyah Magazine,” in which Ahmad Ibn Saifuddin, associate professor at Imam Muhammad bin Saud, wrote: “…Exhibition Islam’s curators have worked diligently to bring into the collection, everyday copies of the Qur’an that not only enhanced the quality of the collection but also told the story of its preservation. The voluminous 585 (pages) of big size and beautiful pages show images of the various manuscripts written in broiled Arabic calligraphy in its various forms throughout more than 14 centuries. A great deal of research has gone into this book... (An Aesthetic Account of the Preservation of a Well-Guarded Book)”
Are there any plans to host an exhibition in Saudi Arabia?
Exhibition Islam is seeking to work with partners in the Kingdom to host professional exhibitions in the major cities of Saudi Arabia and welcomes any approaches from organizations interested in entering into ventures with Exhibition Islam.

Please tell us about the funding of Exhibition Islam.
Exhibition Islam is an independent charitable organization and is not the recipient of any major donation. The charity sustains itself by charging fees for its services, however due to current economic meltdown, is witnessing an inability by many organizations to finalize exhibition bookings. Regardless, the ethos of Exhibition Islam is to facilitate the successful delivery of events, and thus on many occasion, the exhibition service is subsidizing fees to encourage bookings.

‘A Journey Through the Islamic Faith’ exhibition will be hosted at The Islamic Cultural Centre and The London Central Mosque from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012. The exhibition will be open between 11 a.m. — 6 p.m. daily and entrance will be free for all visitors.
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