New gallery added to Indian Muslim heritage centre

New gallery added to Indian Muslim heritage centre

SINGAPORE - A new gallery showcasing the history of Singapore's Indian Muslim community was opened yesterday at the Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre in Telok Ayer.

Featuring a multimedia exhibit and storyboards tracing the history of the Indian Muslim diaspora, the new content also includes tributes to pioneers - such as those who had donated land for the construction of mosques.

One such individual was Mr Ahmad Mohamed Salleh Angullia, who had donated land for the building of the Haji Yusoff Mosque in Upper Serangoon.

Visitors can also browse photographs and read stories about the mosques' history and the lives of merchants who traded items such as betel and gold.

It is the fourth gallery at the Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre - an institution with more than 180 years of history. Located at the site of the Nagore Dargah shrine, it expanded in 2011 from being a place of worship to one that also tells the history of the Indian Muslim community. Admission to the centre is free.

There are between 80,000 and 100,000 Indian Muslims in Singapore among a Muslim population of 500,000. One of its younger members, 20-year-old Hairul Siddeeq, who has just finished his national service, said the gallery gave context to institutions he was familiar with, such as the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre.

"Most of us have the misconception that coming to the museum is boring, that there is nothing we can relate to," he said.

"But when I come here, I notice things I never did before - like how we named the centre after a famous poet."

Its three existing galleries feature other aspects of the Indian Muslim community's past, such as the origins of the name Nagore Dargah.

The centre said the new exhibition "serves to add to the SG50 celebrations by documenting the growth of the Singapore Indian Muslim community, which has benefited from and... played an important part in the growth of Singapore".

Yesterday's launch was attended by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, who was guest of honour.

He was accompanied by Minister- in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who said: "As we celebrate the 50th anniversary, we have to look back (and realise) that the strength of Singapore is our diversity... And we must continue to welcome it.

This article was first published on Jan 07, 2015.
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