Touting the Muslim Culture in the Bible Belt

January 2, 2007


Source: The Buffalo News

Wire Service: AP

JACKSON, Miss. - This mid-sized Southern city with its thriving Baptist, Methodist and Catholic churches may seem an unlikely home for one of the only museums in the United States devoted entirely to Muslim culture.

Still, the International Museum of Muslim Culture opened in April 2001, an attempt by organizers to educate their churchgoing neighbors about a faith that many viewed as mysterious, possibly violent.

The museum is right at home in Jackson's downtown art district, which continues to host the international ballet competition every four years and, for several years, was home to traveling exhibitions of culture and art treasures from around the world.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, museum executive director Okolo Rashid said the project in Mississippi has taken on added significance, particularly since many people have serious misconceptions about Muslims and their culture.