Art Challenge Cliches on Islam

July 21, 2007

Author: Stephanie Holmes

Source: BBC News

A new exhibition of Islamic art from across the Muslim world aims to do far more than unite unusual, luxurious and rarely-seen objects.

Organisers of the London event say that they hope the illuminated Korans, the perfume bottle carved from rock crystal and the leaf skeleton decorated with sacred text will change the way people think about Islam.

The Aga Khan, leader of the world's 15 million Ismaili Shia Muslims and organiser of the project, believes arts can become "a medium of discourse that transcends barriers".

"The essential problem, as I see it, in relations between the Muslim world and the West is a clash of ignorance," he said in a recent speech.

He hopes the objects will spark a cultural dialogue and increase understanding about Islam within the West.