23 Sep 2012

Islamic wing opens at Louvre

1:22 pm on 23 September 2012

The Louvre Museum in Paris has opened a new wing dedicated to Islamic art.

It is also the most significant architectural extension to the Louvre since a glass pyramid was added in 1989.

It has taken a decade and nearly €100 million, and comes to fruition amid tensions between the Muslim world and the West.

Saudi prince Waleed Bin Talal agreed to help fund the project in the wake of the attacks on New York on 11 September 2001.

The biggest single donor, his €17 million gift has helped make the gallery possible.

"All Arabs and Muslims have a duty and responsibility to do as much as they can to tell the West about real Muslims and real Islam and how peaceful our religion is," he told the BBC.

He hopes visitors to the centre will begin to understand that the religion is not represented by "these violent demonstrations that are meaningless", referring to protests over an anti-Islam film which was made in the US.

Last week, France's satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has published cartoons portraying and lampooning the Prophet Mohammed.

The Department of Islamic Art has a curved glass and metal roof, resembling a floating carpet, under which will be displayed the largest and most significant collection of Islamic art in Europe.