Islamic Museum of Australia

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The Islamic Museum of Australia (IMA) is a not-for-profit foundation[1] founded in May 2010 with the purpose of establishing the first Islamic Museum in Australia. It aims to showcase the artistic heritage and historical contributions of Muslims in Australia and abroad through the display of various artworks and historical artefacts.[2]

Designed by desypher a Melbourne-based architectural firm,[3] the $10 million Islamic Museum of Australia was opened on 28 February 2014 by the Australian treasurer Joe Hockey. It shared a $4 million grant from the Victorian government's multicultural facilities program.[4] The Museum was established by Moustafa[5] and Maysaa Fahour, with the Fahour family contributing $4 million, early in 2014, to the IMA.[6] Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Habtoor Leighton Group[7] are principal partners, while the museum branding was completed by Design 55 - a Dubai based studio. Gallery One from the Jumeirah Beach Residence Dubai, supplies the museum's gift store. The museum has a major UAE influence.[8]

It has been reported that the federal government has contributed $1.5 million towards the IMA.[9] Another report has said that the, "Labor Government would contribute $3 million". The Jewish Community says they were "heartened" by the donation as, "the Islamic Museum will add to . . the celebration of multicultural art for the whole of Victoria".[10]

The IMA is the first centre of its kind in Australia to showcase a diverse range of Islamic arts including architecture, calligraphy, paintings, glass, ceramics and textiles. The Museum also aims to promote new and established Islamic artists, both local and international. The effort to establish this purpose-built Islamic Museum was geared towards sharing the artistic and historical achievements of Muslims internationally, and particularly in Australia.

The site is located near the border of Thornbury and Brunswick East, two of Melbourne’s well established multicultural suburbs.[4]

In 2014, there was controversy following Australia Post's CEO Ahmed Fahour arrangement for his employer to donate his $2 million bonus to the Islamic Museum.[11][6]

Dr. Yassir Morsi, from the International Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia, in his review lists a number of deficiencies saying the museum displays, "how European we are when we colonise our Islamic history". He says the museum’s only saving grace is a large oil painting of Waleed Aly.[12]


  1. ^ "The trustee for the foundation for the islamic museum of australia". Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). 19 May 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Farouque, Farah (2 May 2011). "Planned museum hopes to shed light on Islam". The Age. 
  3. ^ desypher
  4. ^ a b "Melbourne Times Weekly". 29 Jan 2013. 
  5. ^ Murphy, Jason (13 October 2012). "Fahour’s family spirit for Islamic museum". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Whinnett, Ellen (18 June 2014). "Australia Post donates boss Ahmed Fahour’s $2m bonus to Islamic Museum of Australia". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Dubai's HLG to sponsor Oz Islamic museum". Arabian Business. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "First Islamic museum in Australia launches in Melbourne with major UAE influence". The National. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Strickland, Katrina (10 May 2012). "Islamic museum gets $1.5m in budget". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Islamic Museum of Australia for Melbourne". JWire - Jewish Online News. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Elliot, Tom (20 June 2014). "Giving is not always good and sometimes raises controversy". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Morsi, Yassir (2 April 2014). "“White-washed I” – Visit to the Islamic Museum of Australia". Australian Muslim Times. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 

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