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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Allah Kore Cumhuriyeti'yi Korusun, Part V: Busan Al-Fatah Masjid

In the midst of Busan Vacance, let's go to this masjid to perform five prayers a day.
Islam etymologically means peace and submission in Arabic. There are few places better than mosques where people can understand Islamic culture. The Busan Al-Fatah Mosque (Hanja: 釜山聖院) opened at 123-9 Geumdan Avenue/Geumdanno, Namsan-dong 30-1 beonji, Busan Geumjeong-gu in 1980. It is the second mosque built in Korea after Seoul Central Mosque and first built in Yeongnam-Gyeongsang Region. Not a few Koreans frequent the mosque although it is very strange to them. There are parents who bring their children to the mosque.

The main building and attached structures were constructed under the auspice of Dr. Ali Fellagh, then Minister of Finance of Libya. At the inaugural ceremony, more than 50 delegates from Islamic countries participated. The plottage of al-Fatah Mosque is 2,087㎡(about 600 pyung) and Mosque building is 210 ㎡, Islam center is 1334 ㎡ and can accommodate about 250 people.

Presently, Yasir Lee Jong-yeuk is the chairman and imam. In past, there were 3 Thai Da’wah workers for Islam propagation, but presently there is no one. The major activities include: an exhibition for Islamic culture, Arabic language lectures, lectures on the Islamic creed, contest for Qur’an recitation, various activities for Islamic propagation via mass media in Busan area, and an athletic meeting for Muslims etc. 

At Friday prayer, there are usually about 50 people including foreign Muslims. Student’s association has many activities led by students from Arabic department of the Pusan University of Foreign Studies. They launch Islam propagation projects during the period of festivals at the 5 local universities. They also opened a public lounge room of Islam culture for the local people. They teach Arabic and English language classes and lecture on the Islamic creed continuously. In conjunction with the World Cup Korea-Japan in 2002 (H.1423) and the Busan Asian Games, they opened a butchery in the center to produce Halal meat to meet the needs of the Muslims in Busan area.

A prayer leader or imam explains about the history and meaning of Islam and current information, and describes the shape and function of the mosque building, when asked in advance. Visitors can look around the praying ceremony if they get permission. Hundreds of Muslims come to the mosque for prayer on Friday. Before praying, believers perform ablution, which is a rare culture seen in Korean religious life.

Arabic language classes are free. English lectures are also given by English speaking believers who have converted to Islam. But it is not so easy to open Arabic classes as few people want to learn the language. 

Students hoping to study in Arab countries are able to get consultations at the mosque although it is not the place for such activities. The Korea Muslim Federation Busan Branch opens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This mosque is accessible by using Busan HüMetro Line 1 to Station 131: Dusil. For more information, dial +82-51 518-9991 or visit the website www.busanislam.or.kr.