CAIRO — Islamic art is not the product of one country or one people, writes Tharwat Okasha in his book, “The Encyclopedia of Islamic Photography.” Rather, it is the merger of the arts of several civilizations that flourished before Islam, including the Persian, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, due to the geographical expansion of the Islamic state.
Mukhtar al-Kasbani, a professor of Islamic and Coptic antiquities at Cairo University, told Al-Monitor, “Religious tolerance in Egypt instilled harmony between religion and art. Egyptian rulers had focused on the competences and skills of artists or architects without discrimination based on religion. This prompted Muslim architects to learn the decorative features of Coptic art. They subsequently developed these stylistic features and gave them an Islamic identity, turning them into what became known as Islamic art.”