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'Islam in America' exhibition opens at Mumbai's Haji Ali

Tuesday September 06, 2011 03:36:33 PM, IANS

Mumbai: US Consul General Peter Haas Tuesday inaugurated a photo and video exhibition on 'Islam in America' at the Haji Ali shrine in south Mumbai.

It is for the first time that such an exhibition is being held at the well-known shrine.

"On my very first visit to Mumbai in March this year, I had just walked in here and looked up the history of the place and then decided to come back," Haas reminisced.

Haas said it is interesting to know that not only Muslims, but also people from all communities visit this shrine built in the memory of a rich Muslim merchant (Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari) who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca.

After inaugurating the exhibition, Haas said it is necessary for people to understand how strongly integrated the Muslim community is in the US.

"In cities and towns across the United States, Muslim Americans participate in everyday activities with their fellow Americans, while at the same time maintaining the rich heritage of Islamic tradition," Haas said.

"The exhibit is a window to showcase this rich culture of pluralism among American Muslims to the people of India. The beauty of Haji Ali Dargah is in itself an embodiment of diversity and hence we chose this place for the exhibit," he added.

When asked, Haas said there is no connection between the exhibition on Islam in American and the 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attack on the US.

"I don't really see any connection between 9/11 attack and celebrating Islam in the US and India and the diversity of both the countries. Through the exhibit, we are only celebrating this diversity," he said.

Before inaugurating the exhibition, Haas offered his prayers at the shrine and was later taken around the mosque in the premises. He was appointed US consul general in Mumbai Aug 1.

"When the dargah trust was approached with the idea of organising this exhibition here, we agreed as this will pave a way to break a stereotype, a notion about the Muslim population in the US," said dargah trustee U.S. Vanjara.

"This is for the first time that such an exhibition has been organised in the dargah premises," he noted.




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