Art And Culture

Mashhad, Cultural Capital of Islamic World in 2017

Mashhad is home to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Shia Imam, and hosts over 27 million Iranian and two million foreign pilgrims to the holy shrine every year
Reza Salehi-Amiri
Reza Salehi-Amiri

‘Mashhad, Culture Capital of the Islamic World’ was officially launched at a ceremony at the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad, capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, on Tuesday.

The program was attended by a large number of senior Iranian officials, cultural representatives and over 250 foreign guests from across the Muslim world, IRNA reported.

“It is an important day for Mashhad, Iran and the Islamic world today. ‘Razavi Discourse’ which is all about peace, reconciliation, brotherhood, humanity and virtue will be disseminated throughout the Islamic world,” said Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi-Amiri.

In 2012, the General Conference of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) held in Baku, selected Mashhad as the capital of the Islamic World in 2017.

Mashhad is home to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Shia Imam, and hosts over 27 million Iranian and two million foreign pilgrims to the holy shrine every year.

“The world should know that Imam Reza’s doctrine is based on dialogue, wisdom, spirituality and morality attributed to the holy prophet of Islam. So Mashhad can serve as a hub for scholars, researchers, intellectuals and artists,” said Salehi-Amiri.

“The Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are the unifying factors among Muslim countries. The prophet said his mission was ‘to complete ethical values’ and this means nothing but peace, friendship and virtue. Likewise, ISESCO considers these factors in selecting the cultural capital.”

He referred to the hostile powers who seek to present a dark and brutal image of the religion through violence and extremism and “put us under pressure. So we need unity and convergence to find a way out of this situation.”

  Opportunity to Introduce Potentials

Choosing Mashhad as the Islamic cultural capital is an opportunity to introduce the potentials, capabilities, facilities, culture and spirituality of the city to the whole world, particularly to the Muslim ummah.

Such events serve as a cultural platform among nations and in this particular case, a proper opportunity to revive and introduce the genuine Islamic doctrines.

At the event, an exquisite copy of the Qur’an and a special poster dedicated to renowned Iranian Qari (Qur’an reciter) Mohsen Hajihassani-Kargar, who died in the stampede of pilgrims in Mina, Saudi Arabia during the 2015 Hajj, were also unveiled.

To mark the occasion, an exhibition ‘Iranian Art and Civilization in 14 Centuries of Islamic Era’ opened at Khorasan Grand Museum in Mashhad. 

The ISESCO is affiliated to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. More than 57 Islamic countries are members of the OIC, which introduces four cities as the cultural capitals of the Islamic world every year. 

Besides Mashhad which is the Asian Cultural Capital of the Islamic World, the other three capitals for 2017 are Amman, capital of Jordan as the Arabic-Asian representative; Sennar in Sudan as the Arabic-African representative; and Kampala, the capital of Uganda, as the representative of Islamic African countries.

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