It has been 10 years since the Taliban took a group of South Korean missionaries hostage. They killed two of them and sexually assaulted some of the women before releasing them in return for millions of dollars in ransom money and the withdrawal of ROK troops from Afghanistan. The hostage taking was of course used by anti-US leftists in South Korea to further push anti-US sentiment. In recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the hostage taking, Al Jazeera thought it would be a good time to interview Muslims in South Korea and see what their thoughts are about Islam in the ROK:
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan, which was a turning point in the history of Islam in Korea. Today, South Korean Muslims make up a tiny minority, 0.2 percent, of the predominantly Christian and Confucian society.
As South Korea is opening its doors to Muslim tourists, trying to fill the vacuum left by the declining number of Chinese tourists following the debacle launched with the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, various generations of native Korean Muslims reflect on their double identity as Koreans and Muslims in South Korea.
The number of Muslim tourists coming to the country saw a 33 percent increase last year from 2015 and is expected to reach 1,2 million people by the end of 2017, as revealed by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
Tapping into this economic potential, the country has increased the number of Halal certificates for its restaurants and prayer rooms, and the Seoul Tourism Organization is promoting a series of videos showcasing Muslim-friendly restaurants around the capital.
Islam and the Korean Peninsula share a history of mutual fascination and curiosity. From the era of the Silk Road in the 9th century to today’s modern interconnected world, the bonds that were once forged through maritime travel have now been passed on to a new generation of young Muslim Koreans, who try to find a balance between their Korean culture and newfound religion.
Retracing the history of Islam in Korea and its reintroduction to the country by Turkish troops during the 1950-1953 Korean War, Al Jazeera spoke with several generations of South Korean Muslims, who expressed the difficulties they face in the Confucian Korean society dominated by class, age hierarchy, a strong drinking culture, and a distrust of Islam. [Al Jazeera]
You can read the interviews at the link, but it is more of the religion of peace talking points which is a bit ironic considering the interviews are in recognition of the 10 year anniversary of the kidnapping, murder, and sexual assaults caused by Islamic extremists on South Korean missionaries.