As I wandered through the bustling streets of Seoul, I stumbled upon a treasure - a haven of faith and community nestled in the heart of Itaewon. The mosque in Usadan-ro, or "Muslim Street", beckoned to me with its towering structure and radiant energy, drawing in Muslims from across the world, as well as those who work and reside in Korea.
In Gyeongbokgung Palace, I witnessed a fusion of cultures, as traditional Korean hanboks mingled with hijabs, and in Itaewon Blackpink merch coexisted with hijabi fashion. The entrance to the mosque welcomed visitors with text from the Quran, inscribed in elegant Korean script. It was a celebration of diversity, a vibrant hub where people from all walks of life came together to connect, to pray, and to revel in the beauty of faith.
As I climbed the hill to the Seoul Central Masjid, I felt a sense of pilgrimage, as if I were journeying towards a sacred site. From the high elevation of the mosque, I could see the entire city sprawling out before me, yet within its walls, I found a sense of protection and belonging. This space, built on the site of an old U.S. military base, has undergone many transformations, yet it remains a constant in the lives of the Muslim community in Seoul.
But as the keeper of the mosque shared with me, there is also a fear of change, of the gentrification that threatens to engulf Itaewon and turn this precious space into a temporary one once more. Yet even as this fear looms, hope still blooms. For the mosque in Itaewon is not just a physical structure, but a symbol of the power of community, of the resilience of faith, and of the beauty that can arise when diverse cultures come together in harmony.

Back to Top