The Korea Herald


Korean Muslim YouTuber's plan to build mosque already in trouble

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : April 19, 2024 - 15:59

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Korean Muslim YouTuber Daud Kim (Daud Kim's Instagram account) Korean Muslim YouTuber Daud Kim (Daud Kim's Instagram account)

South Korean Muslim YouTuber Daud Kim, who announced his plan to build a mosque on land he purchased in Incheon, faces myriad challenges, including a request to terminate the land contract, difficulties in obtaining permission due to road conditions, and resistance from the local neighborhood.

Kim, a content creator in his 30s with more than 5.52 million YouTube subscribers, uploaded a post on his Instagram on April 11 announcing his plans to build a mosque, a Muslim place of worship, on land that he had bought recently.

The property purchase contract he uploaded showed that he had agreed to buy 284.4 square meters of land in Unbuk-dong, Yeongjong-do, Jung-gu, Incheon, for 189.2 million won ($136,600). Kim said that he hoped to fill his homeland with places of worship for Muslims, asking for financial assistance from his fans.

However, the previous owner of the land has requested a termination of the land contract, according to local reports.

The previous owner told the Yonhap News TV “I told the real estate agent to terminate the contract.”

The exact reasons for the previous owner's request are not known. However, some have suggested that opposition from neighboring residents may be a contributing factor.

Kim is facing strong opposition from non-Muslim Korean residents nearby. Objections to the plan have been posted in one online forum for Yeongjong residents. Some comments read the plan to build a mosque "will lower housing prices in the area.”

Furthermore, Kim may face administrative hurdles as well. To build the mosque, he needs to register the ownership and obtain a building permit for the mosque as a religious meeting place. However, as things stand, it would be difficult to obtain this permit, an official at Incheon’s Jung District Office said.

The surrounding environment is considered when granting building permits, and due to the conditions of the roads nearby, it may be difficult to obtain a building permit for a religious meeting place, the official added.

Similarly, the construction of a mosque in Daegu has faced persistent challenges since its initiation in September 2020. Some neighbors filed complaints opposing the mosque's construction, leading to the suspension of the project in 2021 and prompting Muslims to file a lawsuit against the district office.

Additionally, some non-Muslim neighbors gathered signatures to oppose the mosque and staged protests against its construction. While they initially cited concerns about noise and dust from construction activities, their objections expanded to include grievances about the aromas of foreign cuisine emanating from the mosque and the sounds of worshippers.

The protesters have faced accusations that their objections are rooted in prejudice. Islamophobic incidents have occurred at the building site, such as pig's heads being left outside.

Out of South Korea's 51.7 million people, the Korea Muslim Federation estimates the Muslim population to be 150,000, of which approximately 120,000 are workers, mainly from Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan, and 30,000 are students and businesspeople.