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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 20:30 GMT
Dubai to set up Muhammad museum
By Julia Wheeler
BBC News, Dubai

Dubai at night (archive)
Dubai has been a bridge between East and West in commercial terms
The Gulf emirate of Dubai has said it is to set up the world's first museum dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad.

It aims to shed light on his life in 7th Century Arabia, as well as his legacy for the world's 1.3bn Muslims.

There will also be a wing explaining the Muslim pilgrimage, or Hajj, and another for the other pillars of Islam.

Dubai, more usually known for its burgeoning commerce and tourism, is hoping to provide a bridge between the Islamic world and other countries.

The Prophet Muhammad Museum will be the first project undertaken by the Dubai Authority for Culture and Arts, which was established last week by the emirate in an attempt to widen its global appeal.

'Shining milestone'

Those behind the plans for the new museum say it aims to shed light on the life and legacy of the man Muslims believe is the last messenger of God, as well as introducing the message of eternal love and peace they say he gave the world.

Muslims circle around the Kaaba during the Hajj (archive)
Muslims believe Muhammad was the last messenger of God

In a city which is never shy of using superlatives when it comes to its own ideas, the museum is being described as a "shining milestone" in the history of Dubai.

Home to more than 100 nationalities, Dubai is one of the more tolerant cities in the region, allowing, if not encouraging alcohol to be drunk and skimpy clothing to be worn.

Until now, Dubai has positioned itself as showing what Arabs can achieve commercially.

It has been a self-proclaimed beacon for other Arab states shining a light on what it has shown is possible in a troubled region.

Now though, it is hoping to go one step further, providing not only a bridge between East and West in commercial terms, but also by providing a link between the Islamic world and the rest of the world.


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