PARIS – In the middle of growing tensions surrounding Muslims worldwide, Louvre museum is uncovering a new wing of Islamic art on Tuesday, September 18, in a bid to restore the full glory to Islam whose image has been tainted by a handful of terrorists.
The aim is to show an "Islam with a capital I," Sophie Makariou, the head of the department of Islamic arts at the Louvre, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"That means the civilization as a whole, not with a small 'i' designating just the religious sphere."
We must give back the word Islam its full glory... and not leave it to the jihadists to tarnish it," she said.
The wing, to be inaugurated by President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, is a brainchild of former French president Jacques Chirac and dates back to 2001.
About 3,000 precious works from the 7th to the 19th centuries will be displayed over an area of roughly 3000 square meters, subdivided into only two levels.
The Louvre groups 18,000 treasures from an area spanning from Europe to India and Persia.
Erected within the museum, a curvilinear glass roof covered inside and out with sheets of golden metallic links will shelter art from the Islamic era, grouped together for the first time in one enormous gallery.
Designers say they aimed at creating a "gentle and non-violent integration" of an architectural design within a place of historic importance.
"You can call it a flying carpet, a huge tent, a luminous veil or simply golden clouds," said the canopy's designer, Italian architect Mario Bellini.
The canopy consists of 2,350 netted triangles fitted together.
"The challenge was not to overwhelm the Western language of the courtyard with the collection," he said...Too late for that, I'd say. And, BTW Mario, just 'cuz you bow and kowtow to Islam, it doesn't mean that that "handful of terrorists" (ha!) aren't going to shut you up/torch your premises/kill you.
Thus do foolish dhimmis aid and abet the jihad (and die like dogs).
Update: From the CBS News report:
Louvre director Henri Loyrette says the galleries aim to showcase "the radiant face of a civilization."Of course they did. Wouldn't have missed it for the world, in fact.
The wing, with its mission of heightening cross-cultural understanding, is opening at a tense — and perhaps opportune — time.
France stepped up security Wednesday at its embassies across the Muslim world after a French satirical weekly published lewd caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo, whose offices were firebombed last year, was brandishing its right to free speech. But the publication raised concerns that France could face violent protests like the ones targeting the United States over an amateur video produced in California ridiculing the prophet that have left at least 30 people dead.
French officials said the weekly was throwing "oil on the fire" and urged calm. France has western Europe's largest Muslim population.
In a sign of the political importance of the new Louvre exhibit, French President Francois Hollande attended an opening ceremony Tuesday, calling it a "political gesture in the service of respect for peace." The Saudi prince and the president of Azerbaijan, accompanied him.
Keep feeding le crocodile, M. Hollande. See where it gets you.