In the heart of the largest concentration of Muslims in the U.S., the Detroit Institute of Arts this weekend is opening a new permanent gallery of Islamic art showcasing exhibits including a rare 15th-century Quran of a Mongol conqueror.

“The Arab and Islamic community is significant enough that it needs to see itself in the museum,” said director Graham W.J. Beal. “Their collection had not been shown very prominently in the previous recent decades.”

Sunday’s opening comes as several museums worldwide are broadening their collections. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is working on a suite of Islamic art galleries and The David Collection in Copenhagen is preparing to close its gallery for a reinstallation. The Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London also boast of major renovations to their collections. And Egyptian officials plan to reopen Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art.

In Detroit, the gallery of about 170 works of art from the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, Central Asia and India was several years in the making. It was to be part of the museum’s $158 million makeover completed in 2007 but required extra time and money.

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Jeff Karoub
USA Today

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