In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Australia’s first Islamic Museum to open in March

by Carolyn Webb +
Source: The Age +

Filed under: Australia,Featured,News |


By: Carolyn Webb +

Source: The Age +

A young team of people largely working pro bono have helped to complete the first Islamic Museum of Australia in just four years.

Director Moustafa Fahour, 32, is nervous but excited that the $10 million institution, mostly privately funded with less than 20 per cent government input, will open to the public on March 3.

A prayer room overlooks a billabong at the former warehouse in Anderson Road, Thornbury.

Moustafa Fahour and Samira El Khafir are opening the Modern Middle Eastern Cafe at the Islamic Museum of Australia.
Moustafa Fahour and Samira El Khafir are opening the Modern Middle Eastern Cafe at the Islamic Museum of Australia. Photo: Joe Armao

Visitors can eat Arabic sweets at a cafe near gum trees, and learn the origin of camels in the outback.

The museum will explain the tenets of the Islamic faith, and the meaning of misunderstood terms such as jihad and sharia. Patrons can stand in a minaret and listen to the call to prayer.

Displays detail the story of the prophet Muhammad and list Muslims’ inventions in maths, science, literature and chess.

<p> Another exhibit tells the story of Australia’s Muslims, including Indonesians who traded with Aborigines in the 1700s.

Artworks will include surfboards with Islamic motifs by artist Dr Phillip George, a portrait of commentator Waleed Aly by Archibald Prize finalist Abdul Abdullah and intricate glass mosaics by Anisa Sharif.

Mr Fahour’s sister, MasterChef finalist Samira El Khafir, will run the cafe, accessible from the Merri Creek walking trail.

Two 72,000-litre water tanks here are painted with ”calligraffiti” – Arabic calligraphy by Shakeel Tariq stating the museum’s motto: Art, Heritage and Discovery.

Mr Fahour says financial and moral support, including from Christians, Buddhists and and Jews, has been ”phenomenal”.

The project began in 2010 when he and Lebanese-born wife, Maysaa, despaired at TV reports linking Islam with terrorism and oppression. Education seemed the key. ”I thought, ‘what better way can we showcase what Islam is, and the positive contributions Muslims have made to civilisation, and more importantly to Australia?”’ he says.

Mr Fahour and his wife are among a core team of about 10 people who have moulded the museum, including its general manager Ashraf Naim; art director Nur Shkembi, and education director Sherene Hassan, a longtime Islamic Council of Victoria representative.

Mr Fahour, who is now a Dubai-based construction executive, says his Lebanese-migrant parents Siham and Abdel-Raouf Fahour had inspired him. They ran a sweet shop and grocery, raised eight children in Preston, and taught him to give back to the community.

Islamic Museum of Australia Features

Did you know that the English words apricot, orange, giraffe, sugar and cotton are derived from Arabic? Or that coffee was brought to Europe by the Ottomans via the famous coffee port of Mocha in Yemen?

Discover this and many more fascinating facts in the new Islamic Museum of Australia, opening in Melbourne on 3rd March 2014.

From Arabic Numerals and the concept of Zero, to algebra, alkaline soap and the pinhole camera … scientific discoveries from the Muslim world are explored in the Islamic Contribution to Civilization Gallery.

Contemporary artworks by young Australian Muslim artists will feature in the Islamic Art gallery. The Architecture gallery will explore wonderful Islamic buildings from around the globe.

The Islamic Faith gallery will visually explain the beliefs and practices of Islam to the wider community, including a dedicated Hajj theatrette and authentic piece of the Kaaba’s covering (kiswa).

The Australian Muslim History gallery will tell the story of Muslims in Australia from the Indonesians trade with Northern Aboriginals pre-European settlement, through to the Afghan cameleers who pioneered the outback and beyond. A temporary gallery will host visiting exhibitions.       


This brand new Museum provides an informative, entertaining and visually engaging atmosphere for visitors who wish to learn more about Islamic art, faith and culture. The gift shop will stock exclusive Islamic art and gift items.

An exciting development is that the Museum’s Modern Middle Eastern Café will be run by Samira, the top 3 finalist from Masterchef 2013, and will serve tasty light meals and refreshments.

Next time you’re in Melbourne, don’t miss this exciting new attraction!

FOR FURTHER DETAILS & ENQUIRIES, VISIT THE IMA WEBSITE:  or like ‘Islamic Museum of Australia’ on Facebook.

Ian Derek
Ian Derek 5pts

As a Jewish Australian, with an interest in Islam and Islamic arts and literature, I welcome the establishment of this museum and look forward to making my first visit. 

A museum is a sanctuary, both in times of calm and in times of confusion, and establishing, funding and curating is a serious challenge. Congratulations for making it happen.

Andrew 5pts

@Ian Derek  as a Jewish Australian, if that is what you really are, you need to wake up, read the 

Quran, Hadith and Sira, then if you still feel this way you deserve to become one of them.

graham 5pts

So two million tax payers dollars went into this promotion of Islam, a so called faith that is intolerant of the Christian Heritage of this country, which persecutes Christians and Jews around the globe, and disrespects the laws of this country. How could this happen? This is a wolf in wolfs clothing!

Fahad 5pts

@graham  This is the very reason why this museum opened, so we can get rid of Islamophobia. If what is stated was true, then you would have seen bigger issues happening. Keep in mind that there are idiots in every religion, ey Graham?

Andrew 5pts

@Fahad  go practice your taqiyya elsewhere it won't wash here

ucrescents7 5pts

MashaAllah!  Very good beginning -very useful indeed.

A small library by its side with Islamic Books would be appropriate at a time Islamic knowledge amongst youngsters is very poor; & stands distorted due to presence of various sects. Sharia laws at a look should be exhibited.. abdeen

Iranian127 5pts

"1. Discover the Arabic, Persian and Turkish origins of 1000 modern words."

First of all 99% of those are Persian words, including these words you claim are from Arabic: Orange, sugar, apricot, giraffe and cotton.
Secondly, we Persians have nothing to do with your filthy ideology of hate, murder and theft called Islam, got it? you actually try to credit our achievements to your Islam? Only muslims would be capable of doing such an incredibly pathetic act by trying to steal other nations heritage.

"From Arabic Numerals and the concept of Zero, to algebra, alkaline soap and the pinhole camera … scientific discoveries from the Muslim world are explored in the Islamic Contribution to Civilization Gallery."

Arabic numerals are Indian numerals , not Arabic, and they were transported from India to Persia and then to Europe by the works of Persian mathematicians.
Algebra is the works of the Persian scientist Khawarazmi, nothing to do with Arabs nor Islam.
Alkaline soap, pinhole camera and other scientific discoveries were the works of Persian scientists, every single one of the so called"muslim scientists" were in fact Persian. As the Persians were forced to accept Islam, their work was credited to the Arab muslims because they were forced to write their work in Arabic. Their achievements was the fruit of thousands of years of Persian cultural heritage, nothing to do with the genocidal, murderous ideology of the lizard eating Arabs who didn't even know what soap was and tried to eat it when they captured Persian lands.


The only thing Islam has contributed to human civilization is murder, pedophilia, theft, slavery in the name of the most disgusting ideology that ever existed called Islam. This whole museum itself and its concept, evident from this article is another example of theft of heritage.

QaysArthur 5pts

@Iranian127  Hello proud Persian. I'm not sure when pedophilia became ethically objectionable to the great, moral Persians, renown as they were in the ancient world for their sexual-familial ethics, superlative treatment of slaves and subjects by their modest kings, and astounding ethic of accountability of rulers. You, my friend, are either astoundingly ignorant of your own history or astoundingly arrogant. Yes Muslims benefited from Persia as they did from all other empires God subjected to them but Persians benefited much much more from Islam.

Andrew 5pts

@QaysArthur @Iranian127  yes they have been held in the dark ages ever since by you pedophile promoting murdering bigot muslims, taqiyya and kitman are your main weapons in the west but we are waking up.

QaysArthur 5pts

@Iranian127  @Andrew Right Andrew. Well it's a good thing "the west" has institutions of exemplary and unwavering morality like the MI6 and the CIA dedicated to bringing all things to light (as opposed to kitman) and removing all deception (as opposed to taqiyya). Otherwise how would the meek, passive, industrious, and apparently sleeping descendants of the purveyors of the trans-Atlantic slave awaken from their innocent slumber. Well continue waking up my faceless, anonymous friend so preoccupied with concealment and deception: well maybe, just maybe one day you will wake up and see that many who speak a great deal about "taqiyya and kitman" do so due to something called "psychological projection".

Andrew 5pts

@QaysArthur @Iranian127  Ah it seems l struck a nerve, speaking of slavery, Islam has a proud history in that regard. Western nations have abolished slavery but to this day slavery has not been abolished in the Islamic world. Your Sharia law which you would try to hide from us, is an abomination and the fact that it hides behind the skirts of your sixth century despicable, misogynistic religion of peace would be funny, if it wasn't so serious. My eyes are wide open sunshine and quoting Freud doesn't impress me. So take your psycho babble and add it to your PHD of balderdash. Lies quoted over and over don't magically become the truth and the truth will set you free of that prison you are trapped in.

QaysArthur 5pts

@Andrew @Iranian127  Don't flatter yourself - the only thing you and other anonymous commentors like yourself strike are chords of profound ignorance and misinformation. And I was not trying to impress you. Rather I was attempting to engage you on your misinformed use of the terms kitman and taqiyya. In your response you've simply brought up more red herrings and thrown in some slurs - typical of those who lack knowledge beyond hearsay. As for what you said about lies quoted over and over not becoming truth, well that is absolutely correct. Yet those who have nothing to say but lies can't help but repeat them over and over in a futile attempt to convince themselves that their ignorance is knowledge and their foolishness is intelligence. That is why when confronted by developments and facts like those in the article above such people all always ready to recite the kitman, taqiyya, misogyny, "creeping sharia law" mantras about a religion that God has seen permeate the Holy Lands of His prophets and that has vanquished the darknesses of idolatry where-ever it has spread and replaced it with the pure worship of the God of Abraham. So be as unimpressed as you would like and comment to your heart's contentment, yet history and reality speak for themselves.

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain 5pts

Allah o akbar. Masha Allah. Ummat mohmmad Mustafa sallalaho alehe wasllam.

Abul Qasim
Abul Qasim 5pts

Mashallah it will help to provide a fouram to spread Islam

Suhaidah Azhar
Suhaidah Azhar 5pts

Alhamdulillah n masha Allah. A good reason to visit Melbourne again. 5pts

15A Anderson Rd, Thornbury 3072, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

leeman34 5pts

say goodbye to a peaceful life thornbury ,say hello to terrorists,pedos,rapists,biggots

Laila Ansari Daqiq
Laila Ansari Daqiq 5pts

Masha'allah great success, we need to educate people about the beauty of our religion. May Allah bless everyone who are involved in this project.

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