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London to host first ever Hajj exhibition

Sunday January 22, 2012 07:50:36 PM, IINA

London: In collaboration and partnership with King Abdulaziz Public Library, the British Museum here has meticulously finished all preparations for the opening ceremony of the major hajj exhibition entitled "Hajj: Journey to The Heart of Islam" to be held on January 26, 2012.

It will be the first major exhibition committed to the Hajj, exploring the importance and history of this religious journey to be hosted ever by the British capital.

The exhibition will highlight in details how more than three million Muslims perform annually the fifth pillar of Islam pillars.

It will also highlight the efforts being exerted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in serving pilgrims and the development and expansion of Makkah and its holy Mosque as well as other holy sites to accommodate the annual increasing numbers of the pilgrims and visitors and to facilitate their performance of Hajj.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Qaisra Khan, project curator in the department of the Middle East section at the British Museum said that the Hajj exhibition will provide details on the importance of Hajj.

She also said that the exhibition explains the importance of pilgrimage since the early days of starting this Islamic ritual, and also displays the first Hajj journey of the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.

‘The exhibition is also touring during the Hajj journey with time and geography to our present days in addition to reviewing the meanings of Hajj, which highlights the fact that the pilgrimage is a ritual, and a peaceful phenomenon, and that Islam is a religion of peace, since that nobody in the Hajj journey can dare to hurt the feelings of others or anyone,’ Ms. Khan asserted.

She also termed the exhibition as a great opportunity for non-Muslims to identify closely with Hajj as one of Islam’s pillars.

For his part, the British museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, said the Hajj exhibition’s importance is highlighted from several aspects, since it provides an opportunity for the museum itself to present to its visitors whether from the UK or around the world how millions of Muslims perform Hajj rituals, from its religious part.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), MacGregor also said that the message of the exhibition has cultural and historical sides, highlighting the importance of the exhibition in enabling the non-Muslim visitors to live the Hajj journey and its experience and to become aware of its meaning and importance’.

The exhibition includes new photos, recent and old movies as well as models with which King Abdulaziz Public Library provided the museum, reflecting the big jumps of development witnessed by Makkah and the holy sites as a result of the great attention accorded to them by the prudent leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the era of the late founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdurrahman Al-Saud, until the auspicious era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Commenting on the exhibition, the British author and commentator Karen Armstrong highlighted the meanings of Hajj, such as peace, tolerance, noting that these meanings were clear in the biography of Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him.

In a statement to SPA, the writer Armstrong also said that "Hajj’s Journey Exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to understand each other."

"I think that the exhibition will represent for non-Muslims an opportunity for a deep understanding of Islam from its spiritual and its quest for peace instead of the myths circulating in the Western media about Islam," she added.

For her part, Dr. Venetia Porter, Curator of the Islamic Collections in the Department of Asia at the British Museum drew the attention that the exhibition is an important occasion for them in the museum, because no-one has ever to stage such a show and at this level.

In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Porter also said that "in fact, the pilgrimage journey is important and interesting."

On the other hand, all those senior officials at the British museum asserted the efforts exerted and big role played by both the Saudi embassy in the United Kingdom and King Abdulaziz Public Library (KAPL) to the museum.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom, formed a committee under his own chairmanship and members from KPAL and the Saudi embassy.

This committee holds meeting weekly since signing the understanding agreement between the British Museum and KPAL to provide all capabilities to ensure the success of the exhibition and provide the true image of the meaning of Islamic tolerance, peace, unity and brotherhood that arise in the performance of the fifth pillar of Islam, in addition to the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to serve the pilgrims in Makkah, Madinah and Holy Sites.

Activities of Hajj’s Journey exhibition at the British Museum will be concluded on April 15, 2012.




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