Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Pillar of Islam: Charity

One of the five pillars of Islam is giving charity. Muslims revere not only alms-giving but also charitable foundations of many types. Near our home is the Bosnian Institute, just such a foundation.

Adil Zulfikarpašić was born in Bosnia but fled during Tito's regime. He lived in exile in Switzerland and got very rich there (banking, I believe). Late in his life, he came back to Sarajevo, purchased an old Turkish bath, and renovated it into an amazing facility.

In the old part of the building, there is an auditorium where concerts are held and some of the bathing facilities have been renovated as museum galleries, showing typical Bosnian furniture, for example.

In the newly-constructed part of the building, a fantastic twentieth century art collection hangs on the walls (my college kids and I spent a completely absorbing afternoon there during the Christmas holidays). The new part also holds a great research library. I've been doing research in it and am very impressed with their holdings and with the helpfulness of the staff.

All of this--museum, art gallery, library--is free and open to the public. As one of the beneficiaries of the charity of Adil Zulfikarpašić:  many, many thanks.

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