South Korea’s efforts to build mobile prayer rooms for Olympics tourists thwarted by anti-Muslim group

Source: The Washington Post

 February 16

The Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea were supposed to include two mobile prayer rooms, but threats of protests scuttled those plans. (Jean Chung/Bloomberg News)

South Korea is working to become more Muslim-friendly after witnessing an increase, in 2016, of more than 30 percent of visitors from the Middle East and its neighboring Asian countries. The most recent effort was to build two mobile prayer rooms in PyeongChang for people of all faiths to use during the Winter Olympics. But the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) canceled those plans last week after threats of protests by a Korean anti-Islam group, a Gangneung city hall official told The Washington Post.

PyeongChang Olympics Gangwon Citizens’ Islam Countermeasure Association, a newly created civic group, targeted the country’s tourism organization with a petition signed by more than 58,000 Koreans citing that they don’t want taxpayer money used for “religious bias.” It also mentions that Koreans should be wary of “extremist Muslims” and that rooms should be for Christians, Buddhists and people of religions other than Islam.

“Around the world, other governments are actively responding to prevent Muslim extremists to enter their countries. This decision is the exact opposite,” the organization’s petition reads.

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