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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Allah Kore Cumhuriyeti'yi Korusun, Part XIII: Gwangju-Gyeonggi Mosque

Gwangju-Gyeonggi Mosque (Hanja: 廣州聖院) which is located at 10 Yeokdong Avenue 34th Street/Yeokdongno 34beon-gil, Yeokdong 48-9 beonji, Gwangju City, Gyeonggi Province is the third mosque built in Korea. In May 1979 (H.1399), His Excellency Deputy Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait, Sheikh Muhammad Nasir al-Hamhan al-Utaibi visited SsangYong-ri, ‘The Muslim village’ and encouraged the newly converted Muslims. After his return to Kuwait, Sheikh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Sagabi, a judge in Kuwait, also visited the village and arranged to pay for the construction of the Mosque and Islamic Center. Muslims in Kuwait and Br. Abdul Aziz al-Reeys, the editor of newspaper ‘Al-Banna’ donated US$126,675. 

The land was donated by Br. Ha Wi-sik (하위식), a devoted Korean Muslim in the village. The inaugural ceremony of this Masjid was held in July 1981 (H.1401) witnessed by more than 40 delegates from various Islamic countries. All the inhabitants of this small village, 700 people in total, converted to Islam in 1979 (H.1399).

The plottage of the Gwangju Mosque is 856 sq m (about 600 pyeong in Korean Measurement Unit System) and Mosque building is 99 sq m and the number of Muslims at this Mosque is about 735 people (male 450, female 285) at the end of February, 2003 (H.1423). This Mosque is led by Imam Abdullah Jeon Deuk-rin (전득린) who serves it as chairman and imam since it opened. 

On March 2001(H.1421), the KFMA was formed and helped 1,500 foreign Muslims in the area for safety and welfare needs. They are laborers mainly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Uzbekistan, Ghana, Burkina Paso and Iran. KFMA helps in making pleas to the Ministry of Labor in cases of delayed pay; industrial disasters; and solving compensation problems with Korean employers. They made a contract with the Association of Medical Doctors in Gwangju city for 50% off on medical charges to Muslim workers. They also work with the police station there for their safety.