Hawzah News Agency (Sydney, Australia) - The museum's director, Dr Matthew Trinca, said "nothing makes me prouder than the fact this exhibition is opening here at this time."
So That You Might Know Each Other: Faith and Culture in Islam brings together for the first time in Australia 100 artefacts from the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and the Vatican Anima Mundi Museum of World Arts and Cultures as well as artefacts from Australia.
The artefacts, representing Islamic civilizations from around the world, include ceremonial hangings, musical instruments, armor, precious manuscripts, ceramics and jewelry.
Among them are a 19th-Century Meshla, or overcoat, believed to have been woven in Aleppo or Damascus in Syria, a 200-year-old suit of war armor from the Mindanao region of the Philippines and a gold-embossed illustrated Quran manuscript believed to have been hand-lettered during the Ottoman Caliphate in 1823.
Two of the exhibition's organizers were Father Nicola Mapelli, the director of the Anima Mundi Museum of World Arts and Cultures, and Manal Ataya, director general of the Sharjah Museums Authority.
Ms Ataya said the current exhibition had its origins in 2014 when the Vatican offered a selection of its holdings to the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization for an exhibition of the same name, inspired by a verse from the Quran.
She said in a time when misinformation and rhetoric were often about, a museum was "a safe space" to initiate conversations about faith and culture.
While this was to be the only Australian venue for the exhibition, Ms Ataya said she hoped it might travel to other countries, such as China, and include local elements from their Islamic cultures.
The exhibition is being sponsored by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Australia and under the patronage of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.