Media Release by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Opening of Islamic Museum of Australia

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services with special responsibility for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, today attended the opening of the Islamic Museum of Australia in Melbourne.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the addition of Australia’s first Islamic Museum exemplifies Australia’s rich cultural and religious diversity.

“Australia is home to people from almost every culture and every part of the globe, and we observe all of the world’s religion, including more than 340,000 Muslims,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.

“Australia’s cultural diversity is a source of great social and economic strength.

“The contributions of migrants and their families spanning generations have helped forge the Australia that we enjoy today.

“In the 19th century, workers from Islamic countries helped build some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects, such as The Ghan, which was named in honour of the Afghan people who worked the project and is featured in the museum exhibition”

The Senator, who has special responsibility for Multicultural Affairs, said the museum provides the wider Australian community with an avenue to learn about Islam and its history in Australia.

“Our successful multicultural society is founded on a commitment to the common elements that unite us, combined with a respect and an understanding of our social, cultural and religious differences,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.

“The Islamic Museum of Australia aims to promote harmony and a mutual understanding between cultures and faiths.

“This has been highlighted by the range of funding contributors which helped build the museum, including Corporate, Community and Private Philanthropists, and $1.5 million from the Australian Government.

“The Islamic Museum of Australia will showcase a diverse range of Islamic arts including architecture, calligraphy, paintings, glass, ceramics and textiles.

“The Museum also aims to promote new and established Islamic artists, both local and international.

“It will give people an interesting view of the Australian Muslim experience.”