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Is there Muslims in South Korea?


South Korea is known for its homogeneous population, with the majority of its citizens being of Korean ethnicity and practicing Buddhism, Confucianism, or Christianity. However, with the increasing globalization and immigration in recent years, there has been a growing presence of various religious groups in the country, including Islam. In this article, we will explore the question of whether there are Muslims in South Korea and delve into the history and current state of Islam in the country.

The history of Islam in South Korea

Islam first arrived in South Korea through foreign students and workers from Muslim-majority countries in the 1950s. The first mosque was established in Seoul in 1976, and since then, several more mosques and Islamic centers have been built across the country. However, due to the small number of Muslim residents at the time, Islam did not receive much attention or recognition from the government or society as a whole.

The current state of Islam in South Korea

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Muslims living in South Korea, due to factors such as international marriages, job opportunities, and student exchanges. According to a 2015 survey by the Korean Muslim Federation, there are estimated to be around 130,000 Muslims in the country. This number may seem small compared to other countries, but it represents a significant growth from previous years.

The challenges faced by Muslims in South Korea

Despite the growing presence of Islam in South Korea, Muslims still face various challenges and prejudices. One major issue is the lack of halal food options and prayer facilities in public places. Additionally, some Muslims report experiencing discrimination and harassment from Koreans who hold negative stereotypes about Islam.

Muslim communities and organizations in South Korea

To address these challenges and promote awareness about Islam, various Muslim communities and organizations have been established in South Korea. These include the Korean Muslim Federation, which serves as a central organization for Korean Muslims, as well as individual mosques and Islamic centers across the country that provide religious services and support for Muslim residents.

The role of the government in supporting Muslims in South Korea

While the South Korean government officially recognizes Islam as a religion and allows Muslims to practice freely, it has been criticized for not doing enough to support its Muslim residents. For example, there have been calls for more halal food options in schools and hospitals, as well as for the establishment of more prayer facilities in public places.

Islamic education in South Korea

As the number of Muslim residents in South Korea grows, so does the demand for Islamic education. Currently, there are several Islamic schools and institutes across the country that offer Arabic language courses, Quranic studies, and Islamic law classes. However, these institutions face challenges such as limited resources and lack of official recognition from the government.

The cultural impact of Islam in South Korea

The presence of Islam in South Korea has also had a cultural impact on the country. For example, some Korean Muslims have introduced traditional Islamic clothing and cuisine to their communities, while others have participated in interfaith dialogues and exchanges to promote understanding between different religions.

The future of Islam in South Korea

As globalization and immigration continue to shape South Korea’s demographics, it is likely that the number of Muslims living in the country will continue to grow. It remains to be seen how the government and society at large will respond to this trend, but it is important to promote tolerance and respect for all religions.


In conclusion, while the presence of Islam in South Korea may be relatively small compared to other countries, it is a growing and important aspect of the country’s religious landscape. Muslims in Korea face various challenges and prejudices, but there are also efforts to promote understanding and support for their community. As South Korea continues to evolve and diversify, it is important to recognize and respect the religious beliefs and practices of all its residents.

Does South Korea have mosque?

The Central Mosque is located in Itaewon, Seoul in South Korea and was established in 1976. This mosque provides worship services in various languages including English, Arabic, and Korean.

What religion is allowed in South Korea?

Many people in South Korea do not follow any particular religion, but those who practice a religion usually follow Christianity (including both Protestantism and Catholicism) or Buddhism. Buddhism and Confucianism also have a significant impact on the lives of many people in South Korea.

What is the percentage of Muslims in South Korea?

Muslims in South Korea represent a very small fraction of the population at only 0.4%, in a society that is predominantly Christian and Confucian.

Where do most Muslims live in Korea?

The Muslim community in South Korea is mainly based in Seoul, with some mosques located throughout the country. The Korea Muslim Federation estimates that there are approximately 200,000 Muslims in South Korea, with 70-80% of them being foreign residents. The majority of South Korea’s Muslim population is concentrated in Seoul, which accounts for 40% of the total.

Is there halal food in Korea?

EID is a popular restaurant among Muslim travelers in Seoul, known for its Halal food and located near the Seoul Central Mosque. This Korean-Muslim family-run establishment serves authentic Korean dishes such as bibimbap and bulgogi, with unlimited banchan (side dishes) available.

Why do most South Koreans have no religion?

Some experts suggest that the lack of religion in modern South Korea may be linked to the general distrust that many South Koreans have for hierarchical organizations, including religious groups. Additionally, the highly demanding education and work systems in South Korea are seen as contributing factors in the low participation of young people in organized religion.

One potential area for growth in the Muslim community in South Korea is the tourism industry. With an increasing number of Muslim travelers visiting the country, there is a demand for halal-certified restaurants and prayer facilities in hotels and tourist attractions. Some initiatives have already been taken to cater to this market, such as the opening of a halal restaurant in the popular tourist destination of Jeju Island.

Another notable development in the Muslim community in South Korea is the rise of Korean converts to Islam. While the number of converts is still relatively small, there are growing communities of Korean Muslims who have embraced Islam after studying about the religion and interacting with Muslim communities. These converts often face unique challenges, such as reconciling their new faith with their cultural identity.

Overall, the presence of Islam in South Korea highlights the importance of religious diversity and tolerance in a rapidly changing society. By promoting understanding and support for all religions, South Korea can continue to thrive as a multicultural and inclusive nation.

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