Thirty-seven of the Korean troops to be posted to the city of Erbil in northern Iraq have become Muslims.
The soldiers, sent to the Hannam-dong Mosque in Seoul by their commanders, sought to learn about Muslims became Muslims when they had the opportunity to experience Islam close-up. The troops, part of the Zaitun Brigade of the Korean Army, performed the Friday prayer after their conversion.
Thirty-seven of the Korean troops to be posted to the city of Arbil in northern Iraq have become Muslims. The Korean soldiers, who say that they converted to Islam because they regarded it as more humane and peaceable than other faiths, also said they believed that because of the bond they had established with the Muslims of Iraq they would be able to make more realistic and positive progress toward the establishment of peace.
A Yonhap news agency report announced that 37 soldiers from the ‘Zaitun Brigade,’ including Lieut. Son Hyeon-ju from the 11th Division, converted to Islam at a ceremony last Friday. The soldiers assumed the honor of Islam by visiting the Hannam-dong Mosque in the South Korean capital, Seoul. The 37 also included Capt. Son Jin-gu da from the Zaitun Brigade. The soldiers recited the Shahadah (declaration of faith) at the mosque and then performed their first Friday prayer. The Korean soldiers who converted to the true faith stood behind the imam in the same row, thus once again showing that all are equal in the sight of Allah. The soldiers sent to the Hannam-dong Mosque in Seoul in order to learn how to behave toward the local populace in Arbil where they were due to be posted in July originally intended only to learn about Islam, but converted to it when given the opportunity to become acquainted with it close-up.
One soldier from the Zaitun Brigade said they had been greatly influenced when they learned that Islam attaches great importance to reconciling matters with the faith, that people from the same faith were not regarded as strangers and that a Muslim would never attack another Muslim, even in war. The 22-year-old Corp. Paek Seong-uk from the Zaitun Brigade said he had studied Arabic at university and had read the Qur’an, saying, “I was very curious about Islam. A huge love grew within me as I learned about Islam and I decided to become a Muslim.”