Photo courtesy of National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) An Islamic cultural exhibition aimed at giving people in Taiwan a better understanding of the Muslim world opened Friday at National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, showcasing art and artifacts from Muslim countries around the world.

Wang Lan-sheng (王蘭生), the hall’s director-general, said there is a general lack of understanding of Islamic culture in Taiwan, and he was confident that will change when visitors see exhibits that include exquisitely made geometric and floral patterns, elegant Arabic calligraphy, and introductions to majestic Islamic architecture.

In a pre-recorded video, Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa secretary-general of the Saudi Arabia-based Muslim World League (MWL), said he hoped the exhibition will demonstrate the diversity and inclusion that exists in the Muslim world and help enhance ties between different ethnic groups.

Vice Foreign Minister Miguel Tsao (曹立傑) said the government has worked to build a Muslim-friendly environment in Taiwan, and that it will continue deepening Taiwan’s friendship with Muslim countries.

Muslims have lived in harmony with other ethnic groups in Taiwan, and the Muslim community has contributed to Taiwan’s cultural and religious diversity, Tsao said.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), there are approximately 250,000 Muslims currently living in Taiwan, of whom 50,000 are Taiwanese and 200,000 are foreign nationals.

The exhibition is being held April 9-18 to welcome the month of Ramadan, which lasts from April 13 to May 12, MOFA said.

Items to be displayed have been contributed by the Chinese Muslim Association and the foreign missions in Taiwan of several Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, and the self-declared state of Somaliland.

In addition to the exhibition, a two-day event with a number of interactive activities will be held April 17-18 outside the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

These include artists showcasing their skills in Arabic calligraphy, introductions to the Muslim community and halal industry in Taiwan, according to MOFA. Visitors can also experience Eid al-Fitr traditions and enjoy halal delicacies at sunset during the weekend.

Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of fasting during Ramadan.

(By Chung Yu-chen, Emerson Lim and Teng Pei-ju)