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Islamic World Museum of Washington DC

Project Proposal (Updated July 30, 2010)

By Ali Zohery, Ph.D.


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The International Islamic Museum in Washington DC

seeks to carry out a wide variety of educational and

informative initiatives. Washington DC is the center for

national and international transactions because of its

unique location and status as the capital of the free

world. An Islamic museum to cater to the millions of

students, political pundits, cultural anthropologists and

tourists who plough its streets everyday is a unique


Rationale: Washington DC is home to several museums

and attractions but of an Islamic Museum. In the entire

United States, there are only two Islamic museums i.e.

Detroit, Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia. Given that

Islamic education has become the hotbed for American

citizens and visitors alike, a creation of an Islamic

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museum will serve as the center for interreligious and

cultural knowledge bank for all people in and out of the

nation’s capital.

Problem Statement: More and more people are having

misconception about Islam and Muslims after the

tragedy of 911. An educative and informative center like

the International Islamic Museum especially in

Washington DC will help disseminate literature and

other educational facilities to the larger public.

Priority Needs: The most important priority for this

Museum is to have places where historical documents,

artifacts, Kiosks, restaurants, lecture rooms with state of

the art facilities exist to teach, educate and inform the

public at large about Islam; its traditions and culture.

Land mark paintings, drawings, photographs on and

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about the origin of Islam religion and culture will be

exposed to the public.

Goals and Objectives


There are hundreds of attractions in the nation’s capital

including the political landmark statues depicting the

history of the United States. One of the attractions that

draw students, researchers, journalists, political pundits,

archeologists, cultural anthropologists and religious

people to Washington DC is the presence of its

Museums. These Museums hold the key to the historical

background of top personalities that have contributed in

one way or the other in building the image of the United

States abroad and at home. Some of these Museums

have pamphlets and literature about the rise and fall of

American presidents, the depictions of causalities and

destruction of property during the war eras like the First

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and Second World Wars, Vietnam, Spanish American

War etc. There are also Museums like the Spy Museum,

Crime and punishment museum and above all the

Newseum that seeks to educate and inform Americans

and visitors alike how and why the news media has been

able to cover all sorts of stories since the founding of this

country. Another Museum like the Indian American

museum or the African American Museum seek to show

the culture, history, politics and social aspects of the

Native American Indians and their tribulations since

Christopher Columbus. The African American Museum

on the other hand educate and inform the public about

slavery, the slave and their journey to emancipation

during the civil rights era. All these can only be possible

with a center like the Museum that operates daily for the

public. It is in similar vein that the International Islamic

Museum is being opened.

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Primary Goal/Objective: 1) The Islamic World Museum of

Washington DC hopes to create an Islamic educational

atmosphere where people of all creed can have

meaningful and fruitful religious knowledge about Islam.

An Islamic Museum will be the center where misguided

information about Islam can be resolve. It is also a center

where the confusion that arises on the difference

between Muslim and Islam can easily be resolved. The

Muslims use the Koran and the Hadith of Prophet

Muhammad for their way of life. It is at such a museum

where Muslims and non-Muslims and can be informed

about when and why these two writings are central to

the study of Islam. It is also at this center that the

historical paintings and drawings of some of the most

important events during and after the reign of Prophet

Muhammad can be exposed to the public. There has also

been discussion about the role of women in Islam. At the

Islamic World Museum of Washington DC, Pamphlets,

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literature and other related information on when, how

and where the place of the female Muslim in Islam can

be learned. Another primary goal of this Museum is for

the education of the kids who intend to study and learn

more about Orientalism and Islam.

2) The Islamic World Museum of Washington DC aims to

disseminate socio-cultural information and Knowledge

to Americans and non-Americans alike. The dawn of the

New York 911 bombings created a knowledge gap in the

United States and the world about what really constitute

Islam. Edward Said issue on Orientalism took center

stage as Muslims who practice Islam faith were targets of

media frenzy. Hate crimes went on the rise because

anyone who identified himself as a Muslim was

immediately linked to terrorism. This made researchers

and Universities all over the world to organize forums

and debates about who Muslims are and what is the

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difference between Muslim and Islam. Books, Journal

articles, Pamphlets were written to explain to role of

Islam in Muslim tradition and to explain what Islam

traditions and culture is all about. Ten years after this

tragedy, millions of curious minds are still yearning for

public spheres, forums, centers and above all Museums

where they can come face-to-face with what constitute

Islamism. The teaching of religion and culture is limited

to colleges and universities and conferences that are

often organized to address such issues are known to

mostly the educated few. The Mosques are for those

who have sworn to uphold the teachings of Prophet

Muhammad and where they go every week to worship

and pray and carry out the rituals as professed by their

creator. Therefore, any other non-partisan, non-aligned,

neutral person interested to learn basic information

about Islam nowhere to go except visit a Museum. A

Museum is where the past the present and the future of

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great issues like Islamism meet. It is non-discriminatory. It

opens its doors to curious minds regardless of race,

religion, class, political linings, and cultural background.

A Museum dedicated to expanding the knowledge

about the history of Islam is a welcome gesture. A

Museum that seeks to gather materials on the landmark

events that characterize the Islam culture and tradition

like the yearly visits to Mecca, the fasting during the

month of Ramadan, the whole meaning of Ramadan, the

knowledge about the creation of the Mosques in and

around the world, the 100 years war, the Holy war and

the controversy surrounding the issue of Jihad and many

others is unprecedented in the nation’s capital.

3) The Islamic World Museum of Washington DC will

document all the Old Islamic nations on earth. There are

several old Islamic nations on earth like Malaysia, Mali,

Indonesia and others that will be present in this

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museum. Since this is an International Museum, The

focus will be to display it as the most attractive Islamic

Museum on earth. It will not be the size of the building

that will matter, but its content. The old Islamic nations

like Malaysia and Mali in Africa have unique features that

will be lectured upon and shown in this Museum.

Description of Activities: These are some of the activities

that will become part of the International Islamic

Museum of Washington DC.

1) Daily Tours:

2) Occasional Lectures

3) Video Screenings/Slide Show

4) Expositions

5) Kiosks

6) Mini Library

7) Kids Learning Center

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Daily Tours: There will be daily tours at the Museum with

pickup trucks and vans that will be transporting guests

and visitors to the Museum. The tours will be given by

knowledgeable staff verse in national and International

Islam. They will also be verse in both English and Arabic.

Occasional Lectures: Since this is going to involve

international display of artifacts, paintings, drawings,

photographs, statues, Kids Learning center and many

other attractions related to Islam, experts will be invited

to give talks to visitors. These experts will come from

Islamic research Institutes in the United States and

around the world. They will also come from Muslim

populated regions like Indonesia, United Emirates, Egypt

and China. Information about their lectures will be

posted on the Museum website, on the radio, television,

podcasts, Blogs and on the daily newspapers around the

capital city.

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Video Screening and Slide Shows: These are some of the

videos and slide shows that will be shown at the

museum: a) The history and life of the Islam religion; b)

The preachings of renowned Imams in Malaysia, China,

Dubai, Egypt, Mali, Indonesia, Pakistan etc. c) The

lectures of experts in the field of Islam will be shown in

the museum and streamed on the Museum Website for

the International audience. d) There have been some

popular Islamic clips on You tube about young Muslims

being inspired by the Koran to teach, preach and recite

the entire Koran. These youngsters will be screened on

specially designated rooms at the Museum center.

Expositions: There will be display of paintings,

photographs, dairies etc of antiquity reflecting the lives

and accomplishments of great Imams and other

personalities that have contributed immensely to the

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growth and development of Islam religion and culture

on the universe. These paintings, drawings,

photographs, dairies and other valuable assets will be

displayed in and outside the Museum.

Kiosk: There are thousands of newspaper articles,

clippings and citations that are produced around the

Muslim world. Many people do not have access to it

because most of them have limited circulation only in the

Muslim countries. But with a Museum, this will be an

opportunity to get close to these writings that will be

placed in the Museum kiosk and sold to the public.

Mini Library: There will be a section in the museum that

will cater to the needs of some scholars eager to learn

more about the writings and writers of Islamism. Their

books will be placed in the museum for quick review by

visitors. There will also be time that some of the great

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authors of Islam present in most universities in the world

will be invited to give talks at the museum. They will also

have the chance to sign and autograph copies of their

books to visitors and guests.

Kids Learning Center: Islam culture has a place for kids.

The great Prophet Muhammad was a great respecter of

children. There have also been great events involving

children of Islam like the study of the Koran from a clay

in ancient Egypt that will be highlighted at the Museum.

Other great kids have been known to memorize and

recite the entire Koran. This will be a great opportunity

for the other kids of the entire world who will visit the

museum to meet face-to-face with materials that show

the active role of kids in Islam.

Project Personnel:

a) Ali Zohery, Ph. D.

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b)Shekh Muhammad Arafa

c) Eslam Ali, MD

d) Lotfi Greash, Ph. D.

e) Amal Azzam, Ph. D.

Detailed Budget Plan: The International Islamic Museum

will raise funds from national as well as international

donors. There will also be an aggressive campaign by the

personnel in charge of the project to send proposals to

funding agencies soliciting funds for the project. The

financial activities of the Museum will be reviewed after

every six months with the owner of the property. All the

Islamic embassies represented in the United States and

from rich and powerful Muslims in the United States and

around the Gulf and also ordinary folks who volunteer

to support this initiative will also be approached for

funding for such an initiative. Additionally the following

Non-Profit Organizations will be contacted:

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a) National Endowment for Arts( NEA): This organization

has been at the forefront of supporting Art and

cultural initiatives nationally and internationally. Since

their aim is to support cultural expressions that seek to

improve education and information in the world, we

strongly think that our project will be highly


b) UNESCO: The United Nation Education Scientific and

Cultural Organization is an important branch of the

UN that has actively funded cultural and educational

programs in the world. Since this is an international

museum for Islam culture, we think that this reputable

organizational will be willing to support the project.

c) Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation: This is another non-

profit organization whose aim is to support initiatives

geared towards empowerment of children. The

International Islamic Museum of Washington DC will

have a Kids Learning Center. We think this is an

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opportunity for such an organization to support

children activities in this museum in the form of

reading, writing, lectures, tours and proving gifts that

teach them about Islamic culture and tradition.

d) International Theos Foundation: This organization

provide resources to local organizations whose aims

are to help the poor and the needy. Since this museum

will cater to the needs of everyone in the society, we

think we will also solicit funding from them.

e) Open Society Institute: This is a great Non-profit

organization that promotes cultural knowledge and

exchanges in the world. A quote from their website

(www.soros.org) illustrates this point: “ The Arts and

culture program draws on the power of culture, in

particular artistic expressive culture, to help build and

maintain open societies. ACNP carries out its mission

principally by working to strengthen the autonomous

cultural sector as an essential element of civil society”.

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f) Others: The US Department of State funds cultural

programs that seek to educate and inform the

American public. This will be an opportunity for the

personnel involve in this project to explore that area.

Other areas of interest include The Trust for Mutual

Understanding and the US regional Arts Organization.

Media outreach

There will be aggressive fund raising activities that

target Islamic radio stations and satellite television

stations that can be seen in the United States and

around the world. Spots for advertisement, Public Service

Announcement (PSA) to spread the word on the

forthcoming World Islamic Museum in Washington will

be created. Additionally, all the personnel whose names

have already been mentioned and others interested will

make rounds in these radio and television stations to

raise fund for the museum. People will be called upon to

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donate as much as they can as well as some rich Islamic

individuals who will be call upon to donate a certain

amount in the United States and around the world.

Another avenue where more money will be raised will be

the construction of the website:

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people will be able to use the new forms of media

communications to send in contributions. If President

Obama can be able to carry out a campaign with people

donating as much as $5 dollars there is no reason not to

believe that this project will not raise a substantial

amount to promote this initiative. The new forms of

communication to reach the greatest amount of people

in the world though this website are: 1) Face book.

Facebook has now become the online public sphere

where people meet in the virtual space to chat, discuss,

rally and familiarize themselves about happenings in the

world. Since there are over 500 million subscribers to

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Facebook, we will be able to stream video feeds of the

project to interested parties who will be able to donate

their money to the project. The power of communication

lies in style and personality. We will have team of expert

fundraisers working hand in hand with the personnel of

the project to articulate the vision of the museum to

millions of people out there in the world. 2) Twitter and

Youtube. Twitter and Youtube seem to be the fastest

media of communication to reach local and international

communities. Our website will have sections for people

to register to receive tweets from the project

coordinators. They will also have links to video on the

groundwork and developments that are being done to

see the smooth realization of the museum. This Youtube

video will consists of short clips of interviews,

documentaries and discussions with national and

international personalities actively engaged in the

smooth functioning of the project.

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Equipment and Supplies: The Islamic world museum will

lease and purchase some of its equipment during the

first few months of operation. As a new museum and

with funds trickling in slowly from the above-mentioned

sources, there is every reason to suppose that we cannot

buy all the equipment necessary for operation in full.

These are some of the equipment that will be leased,

rented or bought from the first few months of operation:

Furnitures: These are equipment that will be leased on

regular bases for the lecture series as need be, video

screening that will occasionally be shown at the

museum. The kids learning center will have some chairs

and tables that are directly bought from the donations

and gifts. There are going to moveable and unmovable

furniture that will be at the disposal of Islamic World

Museum of Washington DC. There are centers in

Maryland Washington DC and Virginia that lease large

number of chairs and tables for big events. We will use

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services like that for a couple of months during the

inauguration and special events at the museum before

we permanently purchase the ones that belong to the

museum in the near future.

Paintings and photographs: These are many more

artifacts to be displayed at the museum will be bought

from overseas. Some of them will come from charity and

since entrance to the museum will be paid, more of the

revenue generated will go into more purchases of these

materials from abroad and at home.

Staff/Employees: Some of the initial staff for the museum

will be volunteers. But as time goes on they will be put

on wages and the terms will depend on the income that

will be coming in.

Property Owner: The property owner of our

establishment will be paid monthly lease until we

purchase the property. This agreement will be reviewed

every six months.

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We need to raise funds to purchase the property. Help is

needed through donations or any other means to bring

this dream to become true. Please spread the word.


Dr. Ali Zohery Email: ali@zohery.com Tel: 202-437-1295

Shekh Muhammad Arafa Email: marafa01@gmail.com

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