Dubai sets sights on Quran-themed park

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai has added a new item to its top ambitions such as building the world’s largest Ferris wheel and bidding for an Angry Birds theme park — a site honoring the Quran.

The estimated $7.3 million project will include a garden with plants mentioned in the Islamic holy book and an air-conditioned tunnel depicting events from the Quran.

Dubai media quoted the city’s director of projects, Mohammed Noor Mashroom, as saying Thursday the park should be ready in September 2014.

It’s a departure from Dubai’s emphasis on Western-style tourism, which draws millions of visitors from around the Muslim world but has its detractors.

This week, a Saudi cleric issued a religious edict saying it was a “sin” for Saudi women to visit Dubai, but later retracted the opinion after outcry.

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