The village of Daehyeong-dong is at present on the middle of one of the crucial intense cultural conflicts in South Korea. The Muslim immigrant neighborhood of the world is making an attempt to construct a mosque within the neighborhood, which has prompted extreme backlash from residents for over a yr now.
The space is in proximity to the Kyungpook National University (KNU), attended by many worldwide college students. Since 2014, the Muslim college students of KNU have used a constructing within the Daehyeong-dong as their place of prayer. Muaz Razaq, a 26-year-old Pakistani pupil on the college, advised the media that this momentary prayer home was not an apt place for the aim. “There were several problems like no cooling system and no floor heating…Also it was a small house, so many of the students had to stand outside,” he defined.
So, the neighborhood determined to construct a mosque within the neighborhood to supply Muslim college students a safer and quieter place to hope. In 2020, the development started with the approval of the district authority. The plan was to erect a two-story, 20-meter-high mosque with a minaret on the high on a chunk of land co-owned by six Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Why Residents Are Opposing The Mosque’s Construction
Since the development work started, Korean residents have opposed it vehemently. Most said the noise and the congestion as their major motive for resisting the mosque of their neighborhood.
A resident by the surname of Jang defined his reasoning, saying, “Imagine large crowds of people pass by your house’s front door several times a day. The sound of people chatting, walking, and riding bikes and motorcycles will drive you crazy.”
A girl who runs a laundry store in the identical alley expressed related issues, saying, “I’ve seen so many of them just park their bikes and motorcycles in the alley. They come and go in groups. It’s obvious that this small neighborhood will be more congested.”
Some residents are additionally apprehensive in regards to the robust meals odors that may overwhelm the neighborhood throughout Muslim spiritual ceremonies.
Jang stated that up till the development of the mosque, the residents used to reside in concord with the Muslim neighborhood, sharing meals and even being thoughtful of minor inconveniences they could trigger one another. But now, the rift between the 2 teams is inevitable. For him, this battle is “The residents’ last resort to protect our living environment.”
After the villagers filed quite a few complaints in regards to the mosque’s building, the district workplace reversed its preliminary place on the matter and imposed an administrative order to cease the development work in February 2021. The Muslim landlords took the problem to court docket, and in December, a court docket order dominated of their favor, repealing the district workplace’s determination. This yr, in September, the highest court docket upheld the decrease court docket’s ruling and cleared the mosque’s building.
Residents tried to stress the district workplace to search out another plot for the mosque, however the administration couldn’t discover a place that met all the necessities of the Muslim college students. The neighborhood wants a property that’s at a walkable distance from KNU, giant sufficient to suit no less than 100 worshippers at a time, and free from any potential civil complaints. “Almost all neighborhoods we reviewed opposed the construction. There is no viable alternative for now,” an official stated.
Protests And Anti-Islamic Sentiments
Residents have taken bodily and psychological resistance methods to indicate their disapproval of the mosque being constructed within the neighborhood. They attempt to hinder the development work by blocking the doorway of the positioning with autos. Often, they would go away pigs’ heads on high of chairs or buckets within the alley, dealing with the land the place the development is underway. According to Razaq, the residents additionally prepare dinner pork a number of occasions within the alley to harass the Muslim college students. Since the consumption of something pig-related is prohibited in Islam, the residents’ acts are equal to the vandalism of a sacred place to the neighborhood.
Anti-Islamic sentiments are rampant all through the neighborhood, evident within the many Islamophobic indicators and banners positioned all through the world.
No Middle Ground
As the stand-off between the 2 communities prolongs, there appears to be no reconciliation in sight. According to Razaq, the Muslim neighborhood tried to discount with the residents with some compromises, corresponding to putting in lengthy chimneys on the mosque to manage the meals odor and making the constructing partitions soundproof. But nothing has eased the opposite facet.
Many residents said that if the development is profitable, they might transfer out of the neighborhood altogether. Jang, who has lived in Daehyeong-dong for six years, is one in all them. According to a different resident by the surname of Yang, various tenants have already refused to increase their contracts due to the mosque.
Even amidst the strain, the mosque is about 60% accomplished and is predicted to be completed by the tip of 2022 except one thing else hinders its progress once more.