PYEONGCHANG – Muslim visitors and athletes attending next month’s 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be able to worship freely in small, temporary mosques planned by the country’s minister of Culture and Tourism.
“A total of four 2.8-meter-wide prayer facilities that can accommodate five to six people each will be run tentatively near Gangneung Oval until 2019 with the help of Gangwon Province,” an official of the Korea Tourism Organization of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in South Korea stated, Korea Herald reported.
“The number could increase to more regions later after some discussions during and after the Olympics, as the number of Muslim tourists visiting South Korea is continuously on the rise.”
According to the ministry, “mobile prayer rooms” including ablution areas will be set up in the region to attract Muslim visitors.
The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will welcome delegations from a record of 94 countries as well as a diverse groups of tourists.
Out of these, athletes of 15 Muslim-majority nations will participate in this major winter sports event from Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Eritrea, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosova, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
The Muslim community in South Korea is centered around the capital Seoul where there are a few mosques.
According to the Korea Muslim Federation, there are about 100,000 Muslims living in the country, both Koreans and foreigners. Based on KoreaHerald.com, there are less than 20 mosques in the East Asian nation.