Canberra's Muslims have decided to continue pursuing the construction of an Islamic Museum, in spite of their bid for land being rejected.
Muslims in Canberra -- Australia's capitol -- had wanted to follow the example of Melbourne, where construction of an Islamic museum will begin later this month.
Last month, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils in Canberra sought land within the Parliamentary Triangle to build a Museum of Islamic Art and History in the nation's capitol.
Backers of the centre claim it will showcase the contribution Muslims have made to building the nation.
Seeking government land was not in any way unusual, since applications for new national institutions are made to government. However, in this case the appeal for land failed to gain support.
But "Muslims Australia" president Ikebal Patel said the federation would continue to pursue a permanent exhibition displaying the legacy of Islam in Australia.
Mr Patel said the board hoped to strike a deal with an existing institution to house a stripped down version of the exhibition.
The initial design for the stand-alone museum included space for art, history, music, inventions and culture.
But it was now intended that the project, if it will go ahead, will promote history, art and culture.
''Aspects, like music and inventions, would have to be dropped for the time being until we can pick up on it at a later date,'' Mr Patel said.
''How Muslims have helped shape Australia is important because it's a part of Australian history that people probably don't appreciate as much as they should.''
Mr Patel said plans were still in the concept stage and no agreements had been reached.
But any Islamic museum, no matter how modest, is expected to seek financial support with a combination of private and public funds.
This could also include assistance from the Indonesian and Malaysian governments - two of Australia's closest Islamic neighbours.
If the project had gone ahead as originally planned, it would mean that Australia would boast two Islamic museums. For now, at least, the nation's capitol will have to do without one.
Michael Inman, "Museum backers unfazed" Canberra Times February 5, 2012
"Muslim museum rejected" " 2CA News February 5 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today