A BRIEF REVIEW OF
KOREA ISLAMIC CULTURE EXCHANGE ASSOCIATION (KICEA)
In the month of Muharram, year 1992, some momineen working in South Korean industries gathered to commemorate the day of Ashura and for the first time in the history of South Korea, the slogan of “Labbaik Ya Hussain” was raised. In the same year, majlis of Chehlum (40th day of Imam Hussain’s Shahadat) also took place. In that holy meeting, momineen decided to gather all followers of Ahl-e-Bait (A.S) residing in South Korea and henceforth this great struggle started to organize the Shia community in South Korea. From 1992 to 1998, gatherings took place on the day of Ashura and the day of Chehlum-e-Imam Hussain (A.S). Till then, a considerable number of momineen had got connected. In 1998, sincere efforts of some momin brothers made it possible to establish an Imambargah in Ujambo but because of some unexpected reasons, it got closed within a year. However people remained connected with each other and all majalis kept on taking place in the factory where it used to happen before.
In 2001, some momineen put some extraordinary effort and called a meeting in which almost a hundred people participated. In that meeting one of the momin brothers took a generous step by contributing 5 million won with the aim of making a proper cultural and religious centre for the Shia community in Korea. Following him, all other momin brothers contributed according to their own financial conditions. In this way AL-MEHDI ISLAMIC CENTRE South Korea was founded. A committee was formed which performed the responsibility of running this Islamic centre. In this way the Shia community in South Korea started its journey towards becoming organized. Due to some unexpected circumstances this Islamic centre was shifted to three different places inside Ujambo city. But later in 2005 it was shifted to Khem-Jeong city. For three years it became a place of enlightenment for all momineen. Then in 2006, a considerable amount was collected by monineen in order to upgrade the financial status of this Centre. In 2009, some of the active workers of this community decided to move this Islamic center to Seoul so that more monineen could participate in the holy gatherings and also contribute their services to enlarge this holy circle. Finally AL-MEHDI ISLAMIC CENTRE was shifted to ANAM Seoul, and is still there as the sole centre of Shia community in Korea. Momineen from many countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Burma and Iraq are illuminating themselves from this holy centre.
Recently in 2013, this holy group became more organized and formally registered the organization with the Korean Government with a new name and improved goals.
The new name of the organization is Korea-Islamic Culture Exchange Association (KICEA). The board of directors is headed by the honorable chairman Mr. Mahdi Kashef, a Ph.D. scholar of Seoul National University. We have been organizing different multi cultural events at different places mainly at KICEA's center in Anam Dong, Seoul. We are also regularly participating in events organized by other organizations and Korean Government. Various events like Dua-e-Kumail, Namaz-e-Eidain, birth anniversary and martyrdom of masoomeen besides majalis of Muharram take place on at regular basis.
Although we have been working hard to reach to our goals however we are facing some financial problems. One of the main problems with this place of culture exchange is that it is a rented place. Also it is very small due to which lots of people cannot attend the gatherings. There is lack of some other facilities as well. In order to get rid of these problems and to make this centre more functional, we are planning to buy a piece of land for KICEA which is not possible without external help because most of the members of this community are students and workers. For this reason, we are trying to approach/contact Iranian Embassy and some earnest associations or groups on an international level. Inshallah our efforts will be fruitful in future. If anyone is interested in contributing to this great cause they can contact us or can contribute directly to the following account the details of which are as follows
Bank name: IBK bank
KRW account number: 679-007010-04-016
USD account number: 679-007010-56-00013
Swift code: IBKOKRSEXXX
Account holder: KICEA
The following is a list of some of the scholars who have visited KICE's center:
1. 2007: Pakistani-born Allama Musharraf Hussain Al-Hussaini, London
2. 2008: Khateeb-e-aal-e Muhammad Allama Syed Sadiq Ali Rizwi, Kolkata India
3. 2009: a delegation of three religious scholars visited KICEA office. Special representative of Ayatollah Syed Ali Sistani, Ayatollah Syed Murtaza Kashmiri (UK London), Syed Jaffar Bassam, Allamah Jaffar Ali Najam.
4. 2010: Muharram-ul-haram: Allamah Jaffar Ali Najam (UK London)
5. 2012: Indian born scholar, Maulana Syed Ali Rizvi from Iran.
More and more momin brothers and sisters from different countries of the world are coming to Korea these days. At present, total number of SHIA brothers (from Pakistan) in South Korea range from 400 to 500. We don’t have any exact figure of Shia brothers from other countries of the world. However, some of the Shia brothers from other countries like Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and India regularly participate in the holy meetings taking place in KICEA Centre. Last but not least, it should be stated that all members of this Cultural Center don’t belong to any Islamic organization.
KICEA is playing the vital role of keeping SHIA community in touch with all religious rituals and share its culture with Koreans and also learn about the Korean culture. Although it has various problems but still with the help of Almighty Allah, it has been doing its best. In future also, it will be performing its responsibility of preparing momineen to welcome their Imam-e-Zaman, Hazrat Imam Mehdi (A.S). May Allah forgive our sins and help us in creating harmony among different cultures and help making Korea more global. Amen.
Address: Seoul City, Seongbuk-gu, Anam-Dong 5 Ga, Anam-ro 103.
Ph. Number: +82-2-927-1214