New Islamic Museum Seeks to Unite People of Faith
IMA Press Release
Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta and the Barakat Foundation are proud to announce the Grand Opening of Atlanta’s first Islamic museum, The International Islamic Museum of America (IIMA). IIMA is dedicated to educating the public about Islam, as we believe it is simpler to embrace differences when you better understand them. By making interreligious and intercultural dialogue front and center, we are hopeful that IIMA will generate an atmosphere conducive to learning and a greater appreciation of the world’s diverse cultural and religious traditions. Through educating the public, we can better understand our differences, build on our similarities, and bridge the gaps that divide us.
With these goals in mind, IIMA selected the “Families of Abraham” exhibit for its debut. “Families of Abraham” is a photographic narrative exhibit of 180 photos. It features 11 families, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim who were selected to participate in one year of photography of their day-to-day life and faith traditions. Voted top exhibit of the year in 2006, the exhibit began at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC and drew in 31,000 visitors from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds during its time there. The curator, Eleanor Brawley, a photographer and poet of Charlotte, NC said that “what triggered her idea for this project was the knowledge that nearly half of humanity are Jews, Christians, or Muslims and claim the same ancestor—Abraham.” Brawley said, “Through the eyes of these families we explore what we have in common in today’s world.” IIMA will be the sixth venue to host the exhibit. Recently, the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College at Madison hosted the exhibit, followed by Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.
Mr. Muataz Malik, the President and founder of The International Islamic Museum of America said, “When we heard about the exhibit, Families of Abraham, opening at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, we traveled up to see it. It was there that we knew it was the exhibit we wanted for our opening because the aims and intent of the exhibit are similar to those of our museum- to provide greater understanding and opportunities for dialogue between people of faith.”
The photographers captured faith events—wedding celebrations, worship, and also the rhythms of day-to-day life, major holy days such as Yom Kippur in the Jewish tradition, the Christian Easter observance, and the month long Muslim Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset. Photographers also captured the Bar mitzvah of a young Jewish boy and the greeting of a newborn Muslim baby as the father whispers the Call to Prayer in the infant’s ear.
There are 180 photographs in the exhibit by some of Charlotte, NC’s best-known documentary photographers: Byron Baldwin, Donna Bise, Eleanor Brawley, John Daughtry, Donna Foster, Chris Keane, Tina Manley, and Nancy Pierce. Interviewers conducted extensive sessions with each family—these words appear below their photographs and form a narrative of a year in these families’ lives. Interviewers were Judy Simpson Cook, Linda de Castrique, and Linda Newcom.
The content advisors to the exhibit were Imam Khalil Akbar of Masjid Ash-Shaheed, Dr. Jonathan Berkey of Davidson College History Department, Rabbi Murray Ezring, Rabbi Judy Schindler, Dr. Greg Synder of the Davidson College Religion Department, Reverend Kathleen Crowe, Dr. P.D. Miller, Professor Emeritus of the Princeton Theological Seminary, and Shaun Ahmad of the Council of American Muslim Professionals.
The soft opening of the International Islamic Museum of America will be on March 27, 2009 from 3-7PM. The Grand Opening of The International Islamic Museum of America and showing of the “Families of Abraham” exhibit will be March 28, 2009, from 12-7PM. The exhibit will be on display through June 30, 2009. The public is invited.
Regular museum hours: open seven days a week, 10:00AM-7:00PM, limited hours on Monday, 2-7PM. The museum is located at 410 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA, 30318.
Groups wanting tours and workshops should contact Karla Evans, Public Relations Officer at 404.254.0042 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please contact the Islamic Museum of America
Mr. Muataz Malik, President and Founder
Karla Evans, Public Relations Officer
410 14th Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30318
Fax: 404.254.0048 or 877.678.1560
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