Assalamualaikum or (السلام عليكم) in arabic means peace be upon you. This is a greeting by Muslim as how Korean greet anyong haseyo (안녕하세요).
When I returned to Malaysia back in December 2009, I was asked by the man sitting next to me in the plane – “Why do you come to Korea? There’s no mosque (masjid) in Korea right?” and he continued asking me bunch of questions about Islam and Muslim community in Korea. Among the most ridiculous questions that I received from Koreans while in Korea was “Are you on missionary?”
My hijab (tudung/scarf on my head) give away too much doesn’t it? People are scared to approach me because of it and skeptical to accept me as another normal human being just because how Islam has been exposed to the world by the news on local television. This happened much in rural area where I went to for Wwoofing.
I answered solemnly that I wasn’t on missionary. Why should I? hehehe…I’m not like those christian missionary in Myeongdong, ok? ^^ I told them I fell in love with Korean language, culture, history, the food and the friendly people. Period.
I know that I will be bombarded with a lot of questions about Islam and stuff but who cares…I love being in Korea!! ^^ Many of my Muslim friends disregard the idea of visiting non-Muslim country like Korea because it is hard to find Halal food. Frankly, we gonna miss out a lot (if only because of Halal food) especially on how beautiful Korea can be and the historical palaces are too awesome not to visit them!!
Arirang has a clip on Jeonju Islamic community here.