Oman-sponsored exhibition promotes religious tolerance
A public exhibition sponsored by the government of Oman that promotes religious tolerance, intercultural understanding and interreligious dialogue while depicting how Islam is practiced in daily life in a modern Arabic society will be installed for the first time on U.S. soil when the 15-day show opens next week at Salve Regina.
An opening reception for the exhibition, “Religious Tolerance: Islam in the Sultanate of Oman,” will begin at 4 p.m. Monday, April 8 in the Antone Academic Center, during which several representatives from the Sultanate of Oman will join with Rhode Island leaders and members of the state’s religious and university communities. The exhibit, open to the public, will run through April 23.
The touring exhibition (in eight languages) has already been presented in more than 25 cities in 10 countries in Europe, and the Salve Regina show will mark its first installation in the U.S. It consists of 20 display panels, two pop-up displays and a 35-minute documentary film, “Religious Tolerance in Oman,” by the award-winning German filmmaker Wolfgang Ettlich. Replicas of important religious artifacts will also be displayed.
Fostering the exhibition’s installation at Salve Regina are the Department of Religious and Theological Studies along with Ali Al Abri, a doctoral student who has been working with Dr. Daniel Cowdin, associate professor of religious and theological studies.
“Salve Regina is honored to host this exhibit, and especially pleased to receive a visit from the Omani delegation,” Cowdin said. “This event fits beautifully with the religion component in our core curriculum, which emphasizes Christianity in dialogue with world religions, including Islam. In our culture today we often speak about religious pluralism, both around the globe and in our own society, but we don’t always have the opportunity to engage other religions in any depth. The generosity of Oman in sharing its religious perspective makes a deeper dialogue possible. We’re grateful to them for coming, and excited for this opportunity to learn and exchange views.”
The project is an initiative of Oman’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs to open dialogue about the current climate of debate over Islam and to provide a positive image to contrast often negative perceptions. The presentation will also present another facet of Islam – Ibadhism – which is generally unknown, even in Islamic circles.
Contents of the exhibition may be viewed online at www.islam-in-oman.com.