A delegation of 19 Catholic deacons visited a mosque yesterday in an effort to promote interreligious dialogue in the capital.
The Korean Bishops Conference arranged the meeting to help the deacons better understand the Muslim faith, its culture and history.
“Islam was unfamiliar to me,” said Deacon James Bang Jong-woo, who attended the meeting. “I learned that Islam longs for peace in the world.”
He added that there are about 35,000 Korean Muslims in the country, and another 100,000 foreign-born Muslims.
Lee Ju-hwa, imam of the Korea Muslim Federation, said interest in Islam has risen since the September 11 attacks in the United States, and he welcomed the dialogues as a way of promoting better understanding between faiths.
“Protestants as well as Catholics have visited our mosque recently. I hope that Islam has more opportunity to communicate with other religions and understand each other.”
The deacons attended the Asr, or afternoon worship, after meeting with Lee Ju-hwa.
The delegation had visited the Apostolic Nunciature in Seoul prior to their visit to the mosque.
Delegates were scheduled to visit the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the Anglican Church of Korea and the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea today.
The Korean Bishops Conference has organized the interfaith exchanges since 2008.