Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ARI's Educational Visit to the Seoul Central Mosque

Whilst in Seoul, Korea, ARI and PBBM's delegates visited Seoul Central Mosque.  The Imam of the mosque Mr. A. Rahman Lee Ju-Hwa. Imam Rahman provided a brief overview of Islam and Muslim community in Korea. Though Islam is the second largest religion by number of adherents in the world, it is still a minor religion in South Korea. Most of these Muslims in Korea centred in Seoul, the capital territory of South Korea, where the Seoul Central Mosque was built in 1976.  The building of the mosque was funded by the Malaysian Islamic Mission and other Islamic countries.

Presently there are 15 mosques and  16 musallah have been operating nationwide to facilitated Muslims in Korea. Nowadays, 35000 Korean native Muslims live in the country and about 40000 Muslims were immigrated from other Muslim countries such as; Indonesia that makes the total number of 100000 and above.  During Ramadan the mosque organizes Iftar and around 500-600 people attend the event every day. Embassies of Muslim countries support the mosque and share the fund for Iftar. Other than that, the mosque increases their income through getting donation and contribution, providing halal certificate and other financial support from Muslim countries such as; Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The mosque also performs Dawah and teaching for new Muslims, explaining the Quran during weekend and Madrasah facilities. Every year about 100 people convert to Islam. Moreover, more than 300 Koreans had visited the mosque during the weekend just to know more about Islam. The mosque already took the initiative to translate the Quran in the Korean language. They believe it could be more useful for newly converted Muslims in Korean to know about Islam in their own language.
The mosque also issues Akad certificate of Muslim marriage in Korea. The Korean Muslim Federation monitor and operate the mosque through their board of Shariah council. Every year around 100-150 Muslims perform their pilgrim (Haj) among both native and immigrated Korean.  Not surprisingly, Muslims community in Korea also affected by the Islamophobia in the present time. Issues like ISIS and terrorist attack in various countries present negative and false perception of Islam. It's more in the society where Muslims are the minority and that's the same thing happening in Korea as well. However, the growing of Islam in Korea is still precious.  After the talk session delegates asked questions to the Imam to know more about Muslims community and situations of Islam in Korea. They also placed inquiries about participation of foreign Muslims in the Korean Muslim communities.

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