Tuesday, 22 Jan 2019

At the Olympic of South Korean Games, the committee not provide a mobile prayer room for Muslim tourists


A mobile prayer room for Muslim touristsA mobile prayer room for Muslim tourists -  The Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) has canceled plans to provide a mobile prayer room in Gangneung for tourists during the Winter Olympics 20108. This was done after get strong opposition from anti-Muslim activists, the city's tourism department chief said.

As quoted from Al Jazeera, as many as 0.2 percent from 51 million of residents in South Korean is Muslim, then the KTO decided to build a prayer hall to promote "Muslim-friendly Korea" during the Winter Olympics, which began on Friday and raised number of Muslim tourists.

But after get strong resistance, from several groups, the city officials in Gangneung canceled it's plans.

"We have strong opposition from some religious groups who oppose the making of prayer space and they are threatening to demonstrate during the Winter Olympics," said Head of the Gangneung city government tourism division, Kang Suk-ho.

During the Winter Olympics, South Korea has seen an increase in the number of Muslim tourists in recent years.

According to the KTO, as many as 33 percent increase was recorded in 2016 compared to the previous year, and the number reached up to 1.2 million tourists in the end of 2017.

Taking advantage of this economic potential, the country has increased the number of Halal certificates for its restaurants and prayer spaces, and the Seoul Tourism Organization has promoted a series of videos featuring Muslim restaurants around the capital.

However, the Korean Muslim Federation (KMF) expressed its disappointment at the decision of the Korean Tourism Organization, and adding that "the Olympics should cover the whole country, race, culture and religion to achieve harmonization".

"This decision shows that we, as a host nation, do not have a mature understanding," said Lee Ju-hwa, a representative of KMF in a statement.

"Instead of claiming the installation of prayer space is a special thing that given to a particular religion, we need to raise our awareness to consider others, with different beliefs and religions," he added.

Director of the KTO, Kim Yeong-ju said that the Olympic Games should be a multi-religious prayer room.

The Winter Olympics garnered more than 56,000 signatures for an online petition against the installation of prayer halls.

"While it would be fun to have a prayer facility at the Olympics, a bigger concern for us is how it can make a precedent going forward," said a Muslim tourist, who asked not to be named.

" I can offer our prayers in some corner or back at our hotel, I just hope the opposition realises what little it will achieve by not having a prayer room put up," the visitor said. 



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