UAE ‘annexes Oman territory’ on new Louvre museum map

Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum publishes new map showing Musandam as part of the UAE, in addition to omitting Qatar entirely.

Screen grab of Twitter users slamming the Louvre Museum''s map which annexes Musandam, an exclave of Oman
The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum's map, which 'annexed' Musandam, drew condemnation on social media [Al Jazeera]

A new map published by the United Arab Emirates‘ Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum appears to have removed the border demarcation between UAE and the Omani enclave of Musandam, in addition to removing Qatar. 

It is the second time in a week that a map by the museum created controversy by reshaping the geography of the Arabian Peninsula after a previous map omitted the entire State of Qatar.

According to images published on social media, the new map shows Musandam, an exclave of Oman in the northern tip of the peninsula, as part of the UAE.

On social media, some Omani activists accused the museum of deliberately trying to distort the geography of the Gulf.

“The Louvre Abu Dhabi is lying and deliberately spreading misinformation,” said Twitter user @BARQ_OMAN1.

Twitter user @MajedFakhar said it was second time the UAE had “annexed” Musandam in recent months after a map published on the Mohamed bin Zayed Award for Best GCC Teacher also removed the demarcation line. 

Last week, the Washington Institute’s Simon Henderson reported that a map at the museum had “completely” omitted Qatar.

“In the children’s section of Abu Dhabi’s new flagship Louvre Museum, a map of the southern Gulf completely omits the Qatari peninsula – a geographical deletion that is probably incompatible with France’s agreement to let Abu Dhabi use the Louvre’s name,” Henderson wrote.

Qatar Museums chairperson, Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, responded tweeting: “Throughout history museums were a source of reference. People would visit to acquire knowledge and learn about world cultures through the exploration of objects on display. Although the notion of museums is a new one to Abu Dhabi, surely the @MuseeLouvre is not okay with this?”

Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, later responded, calling it a “small mishap” and accused those pointing it out of “looking to create unnecessary controversy”.

“Following the tweet by the chairperson of Qatar museums, I was surprised by the exaggerations made regarding a small mistake made by the gift shop in the Abu Dhabi Louvre. There were other observations from individuals who were clearly looking to create unnecessary controversy, but culture remains regarded on a higher standard than these small mishaps,” he wrote.

At the time of publication, Louvre Abu Dhabi had not replied to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”, an allegation Doha has vehemently denied.

As part of the blockade, the UAE made expressing sympathy towards Qatar a punishable offence, with a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine of at least 500,000 dirhams ($136,000).

Source: Al Jazeera