Museum Of Islamic Art Is Fighting Terror
By Jayson Casper
THREE years after the car bomb that devastated world-famous Museum of Islamic Art, in Cairo, Egyptian culture is thumbing its nose at Islamic terror.
And in pride of place in the central rotunda is a nineteenth-century mosque door carved by Yehuda Aslan, a Jewish craftsman.
On 24 January, 2014, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Cairo was the secondary casualty of the bomb that killed six and injured dozens in a blast targeting the Cairo Security Directorate across the street. The attack was claimed by the Sinai Province of the Islamic State.
It also smashed the façade of the historic museum built in 1903, damaging 179 pieces, ten beyond repair.
Two weeks ago the museum reopened in grand ceremony.
"This is our heritage, not only for Egypt or Muslims, but for humanity," said Ahmad al-Shoky, the museum director.
"If you destroy it, we will rebuild it, and make it better than before."
Considered the largest museum of Islamic art and artifacts in the world, the MIA holds more than one hundred thousand pieces from throughout the Muslim world.
The earliest dates back to 652AD, a tombstone from year 31 of the Muslim era that bears signs of the Umayyad regime. It is the oldest mark of Islam in Egypt.
Al-Shoky presided over the opening of sixteen additional exhibits, tripling the items on show to the public. The richness of Islamic history, he believes, blunts the appeal of terrorism.
"The museum is not only about good art, but a good message," al-Shoky told Lapido. "We have reworked our displays to show how Islamic art contributes to world civilization."