What is it like being a Muslim black woman in Korea?
Being Muslim in Korea is hard because Koreans EAT A LOT OF PORK LOL, LIKE A LOT OF PORK. Pork is very popular here because it is cheaper than beef. Beef in Korea is hella expensive. My school lunch 90 percent of the time consists of pork and it also does not help that I am in a small town, where I am the only Muslim and black person……(talk about being a minority). Koreans also drink a lot, like A LOT.
The drinking Culture in Korea
Drinking is a big part of Korean culture, and as many of you may know, Muslims do not drink, so the drinking part, I also had to get use to. I had people in Canada who drank around me as well, but not as heavy as here in Korea. I must say though, Koreans make the best drunks lol and they are very funny and exciting when they are drunk.
I do not wear the Hijab on a daily basis, so the 2 reasons my town people know am a Muslim is because I always ask if everything is pork or contains pork and my Adhan (a call to prayer that lets Muslims all around the world know when is time to pray) always goes off when is time for me to pray. I also pray at school and fast during the month of Ramadan. So I had to explain to my students and co-workers as to why I was not eating lunch for a full month.
My 3 schools are now very much aware that I do not eat pork and my Wednesday school especially, is very accommodating to the fact that I do not eat pork. The cafeteria lady at the school separates my food on pork days and leaves it aside for me. God bless her soul forever and always. It is extremely fascinating to my schools that I am Muslim and black. They assumed, probably because of what they see on TV that all Muslims are either from the Middle East or Asia. I am really glad to be exposing Koreans to the diversity of my religion and the world.
Being a Muslim black woman in Korea is not that bad and I can only speak for myself. Yes there is racism and some Koreans area afraid of Muslims and I can only say is because of how the media portrays my religion. Koreans rely heavily on their news telecast people and believe everything anything they show them. All I can do is be a good representation of my religion and of course race, and so far so good.
My first Ramadan in Korea was last year and boy was it difficult. The time difference between Canada and Korea really threw me off. Fajr, is a muslim morning prayer and I had to get up at like 3 a.m. or so, but in Canada it was around 5 a.m. The heat during the summer was unbearable with fasting, because I could not eat or drink water until sunset. I also attended my first English summer camp in July and I was fasting. It was difficult for the camp organizers to accommodate my eating time, which was before sunrise and after sunset. Since I was the only person fasting, they could not really accommodate to my needs and understanding of my religion, but somehow I made it work. After summer camp, I celebrated my first Eid in Seoul, and I was surprised to find a mosque in Itaewon (a place in Seoul).
Ramadan starts in 2 weeks and I am super excited, because now I know what to expect and I have adjusted to the time difference for Fajr (morning prayer for Muslims). I am also now going to be used to the CRAZY KOREAN HEAT WAVE THAT COMES DURING THE SUMMER TIME.
For this year’s Eid, I will be going to Busan to celebrate. My friend actually told me that there are many Mosques in Busan and a big halal store near one of the Mosques.
Busan is a city in Korea and with its beautiful beaches and many foreigners, it attracts a lot of people. Below is information on one of the Mosques in Busan and the Turkish restaurant close to it. That actually reminds me, In Itaewon, there are many halal restaurants close to the Mosque I mentioned earlier.
Busan Masjid was the second masjid to open in Korea. It was built in 1980 with financial support from Ali Fellaq, the former minister of finance of Libya.
Kebab House (next to the Busan Masjid)
The Kebab House is probably one of the few, if not the only Turkish restaurant in Busan. It features traditional Turkish cuisine such as kebabs and Turkish pizza. The owner and head chef are all Turks and the interior is decorated with beautiful carpets and fabrics brought in directly from Turkey.
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