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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

Muslims in Korea: The Dilemma of Inclusion

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2012, v.52 no.2, pp.160-187
https://doi.org/10.25024/kj.2012.52.2.160


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Abstract

The Muslim community in Korea first appeared in the 1950s and has grown with increasing inflow of foreign workers to Korean society. Loosely communicated through Islam, the community develops its own identity and culture, diversifies ethnically, and remains isolated from the larger Korean society. Once it grows large enough to have a collective voice, however, there are two paths open to Muslims in Korea. One is the “interstitial identity,” meaning that they participate neither in the politics of the majority Korean society nor that of the origin country. The other is a “reconstituted identity” that aspires for integration into mainstream Korean society by actively participating while preserving their distinctiveness. The current Korean government’s multicultural policy may drive Muslims in Korea to take the first path. The current development of the Muslim community in Korea, however, may demand that the Korean government and people employ more inclusive multiculturalism policies to facilitate Muslims in Korea to take the second path. This reflective situation offers Korean society an opportunity to change the current multicultural policy oriented towards differential exclusion and assimilation into a more inclusive model of multiculturalism.

keywords
Muslim immigrants in Korea multiculturalism Islamophobia Korean multicultural policy inclusion

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