Islam Around the WorldSouth Korea

Islam in South Korea in 5 Questions

In this article, we seek answers to 5 important questions about Muslims in South Korea. From how Islam reached Korea and the Muslim population there to information about mosques, significant figures, and the problems faced by Muslims. Enjoy the read.

What is the Muslim population in South Korea?

People South Korea

According to 2018 data, South Korea’s total population is 51,164,435. The majority of the Muslim population in Korea consists of immigrants, workers, and investors from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. South Korea is home to around 45,000 native Muslims and 155,000 foreign Muslims, making a total of 200,000 Muslims. However, these numbers may vary on different platforms.

When and how did Islam reach South Korea?

South Korea

Though not precisely known, Islam is believed to have reached South Korea through Arab and Persian merchants between the 7th and 9th centuries. These traders, arriving through China, facilitated the spread of Islam through trade and marriage connections. Later, the Tatar Turks played a role in revitalizing Islam in the 19th century. The real breakthrough occurred during the Korean War when Turkish soldiers won the hearts of the people. Around 200 Koreans embraced Islam due to the arrival of Turkish soldiers.

Which are the most famous mosques in Korea?

Seoul center mosque

The most famous and largest mosque in South Korea is the Seoul Central Mosque, situated in the center of Seoul. It was established in 1976 and serves as a significant Islamic center in Korea. Other prominent mosques include Al-Fatah Mosque in Busan, Sırat-al Müstakim Mosque in Ansan, and various small mosques in different regions, mostly built by the local Muslim community.

Who are the key figures working for Islam in South Korea?

Korea newspaper

The first Islamic activities in Korea started with Imam Abdulgafur Karaismailoğlu of the Turkish Brigade. He, along with Zübeyir Koç Beyefendi, arrived as a religious officer during the Korean War and became the first personalities to inform the Koreans about Islam based on their requests. These important figures, who reconnected the long-lost ties between Korea and Islam, won the hearts of the people through their sacrifices and conferences, playing a significant role in introducing Islam to many. As a result, the first Korean Muslims established the Korean Muslim Federation. Presently, the Korean Muslim Federation officials are engaged in various activities on behalf of Korean Muslims.

What are the main challenges faced by Muslims in South Korea?

Korean foods

The primary challenges faced by Muslims in Korea are due to Islamophobic news and smear campaigns. Negative propaganda by dominant Christian groups hinders the spread of Islam and social acceptance of Muslims in the country. Additionally, there is no educational institution dedicated to Muslims, and the lack of permanent burial sites for Muslims poses a serious issue. Cultural differences, like the consumption of alcohol and pork, create challenges for Muslims in social settings, leading to a divergence between Islamic and Korean cultures.

Seul Merkez CamiiBiDunyaHaber

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