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Are Koreans Muslims?


Korea is a country in East Asia that has a rich cultural heritage and a diverse population. One of the questions that often comes up when discussing Korea is whether or not Koreans are Muslims. This article will explore this question in depth, examining the history of Islam in Korea, the current state of the Muslim community in Korea, and the factors that have contributed to the spread or lack thereof of Islam in the country.

The History of Islam in Korea

Islam has a long and complex history in Korea, dating back to the 7th century when Arab traders first arrived on the Korean Peninsula. There are also accounts of Korean envoys traveling to China and encountering Muslims on their journeys. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that Islam began to gain a foothold in Korea, thanks in part to the efforts of Muslim missionaries from India and other parts of Asia.

The Current State of the Muslim Community in Korea

Today, there are an estimated 100,000 Muslims living in Korea, representing roughly 0.2% of the country’s total population. Most of these Muslims are foreign-born, coming from countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. However, there is also a small but growing number of Korean-born Muslims who have converted to Islam.

The Factors that Have Contributed to the Spread or Lack Thereof of Islam in Korea

There are several factors that have contributed to the spread or lack thereof of Islam in Korea. One of the biggest barriers to the growth of Islam in Korea has been cultural and linguistic differences between Koreans and Muslims from other parts of Asia. Additionally, there have been concerns about security and terrorism following a number of high-profile terror attacks around the world over the past decade.

The Role of Government Policies and Attitudes toward Islam

The Korean government has generally been supportive of religious freedom, including the right of Muslims to practice their faith. However, there have been instances of discrimination and prejudice against Muslims in Korea, particularly in the wake of terror attacks. Some have also criticized the government for not doing enough to support the Muslim community in Korea.

The Relationship between Islam and Korean Culture

Korean culture has a strong Confucian tradition that emphasizes respect for authority, family values, and social harmony. This has sometimes been seen as incompatible with the more individualistic values espoused by Islam. However, there are also many similarities between Korean and Islamic culture, including an emphasis on hospitality, respect for elders, and a strong work ethic.

The Influence of Korean Popular Culture

Korean popular culture, including music, movies, and television dramas, has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years. Some have argued that this could have a positive influence on the perception of Islam in Korea by exposing Koreans to Muslim characters and themes.

The Importance of Interfaith Dialogue and Understanding

In order for Islam to continue to grow and thrive in Korea, there must be greater efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding. This includes educating Koreans about Islam and its teachings, as well as encouraging Muslims to be active participants in Korean society.

The Challenges Facing the Muslim Community in Korea

Despite some progress, there are still many challenges facing the Muslim community in Korea. These include discrimination and harassment, difficulty finding halal food and other necessary resources, and a lack of infrastructure to support the needs of the community.

The Contributions of Muslims to Korean Society

Despite these challenges, Muslims have made significant contributions to Korean society in a variety of fields, including education, business, and culture. Many Korean universities now offer courses on Islam and Middle Eastern studies, while Muslim entrepreneurs have established successful businesses in Korea.

The Future of Islam in Korea

The future of Islam in Korea is uncertain, but there are reasons for optimism. As more Koreans travel and study abroad, they will be exposed to different cultures and religions, including Islam. Additionally, the growing presence of Muslims in Korea may lead to greater acceptance and understanding of the faith.


In conclusion, while the Muslim community in Korea is still relatively small, it has a rich history and a promising future. By promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding, supporting the needs of the Muslim community, and encouraging greater cultural exchange between Korea and Muslim-majority countries, we can help ensure that Islam continues to grow and thrive in Korea for generations to come.

What is the religion of Korea?

The main religions among those who practice a formal religion are Christianity (both Protestantism and Catholicism) and Buddhism. In South Korea, Buddhism and Confucianism are also important parts of many people’s lives.

Are there Muslims in Japan?

As of 2020, Islam only makes up 0.15% of Japan’s population, making it one of the smallest minority religions in the country.

Why is Christianity so big in Korea?

The acceptance of Christianity in Korea was largely due to the connection that many Christians had with the nationalist movement during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945. Japan attempted to assimilate Korean culture during this time.

How many Koreans convert to Islam every year?

According to the KMF, approximately 3,000 individuals from South Korea convert to Islam annually. Unfortunately, many of these individuals encounter mistreatment and a lack of understanding. The spread of Christianity in Korea was largely due to charitable endeavors, such as constructing schools and hospitals, and led to significant influence within society.

Is KPOP halal in Islam?

Muslims are questioning whether K-pop is considered haram, or forbidden, due to the use of music in the genre. Despite people claiming that K-pop has had a positive impact on their lives, the answer is yes, music is generally considered haram for Muslims unless it is purely vocal.

Which country has the most Muslims?

Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim population in any country, with 12.7% of the world’s Muslim population residing there. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh follow closely behind with 11.1%, 10.9%, and 9.2% of the world’s Muslim population respectively. Around 20% of the global Muslim population lives in Arab nations.

One potential area for growth of the Muslim community in Korea is through the establishment of more halal restaurants and food options. Currently, there are only a limited number of halal restaurants in Korea, which can make it difficult for Muslim residents and visitors to find suitable meals. By increasing the availability of halal food options, Korea could become a more welcoming destination for Muslims from around the world.

Another potential avenue for growth is through greater engagement with Korean society and culture. Many Muslims in Korea may feel isolated or disconnected from mainstream Korean society due to cultural and linguistic barriers. By promoting greater understanding and interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims in Korea, we can help to break down these barriers and build stronger, more inclusive communities.

Finally, it is important to note that the future of Islam in Korea will depend on the actions and attitudes of both Koreans and Muslims living in the country. By working together to promote tolerance, understanding, and respect for one another’s beliefs and cultures, we can help to create a more harmonious and diverse society in Korea that welcomes people from all backgrounds. Ultimately, this will benefit not only the Muslim community, but all Koreans who value openness and inclusivity.

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