Foreign Ministry hosts dinner for Muslim envoys

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Foreign Ministry hosts dinner for Muslim envoys

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade threw a dinner party for ambassadors of Muslim countries with embassies in Korea at the ministry in Doryeom-dong, central Seoul, last Monday.

Named Iftar, the event was arranged as a gesture of friendship toward the countries, which were observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Ambassadors or their representatives from 24 Muslim countries in Korea, including Vitali Fen, the ambassador of Uzbekistan, and Abdullah Almaainah, the ambassador of the UAE, attended the dinner.

Other high-profile Muslim representatives were also present - including S-Oil CEO Ahmed Subaey and six other executives from the Korea-Arab Society and Korea Muslim Foundation Secretary General Lee Ju-hwa and two other executives from the foundation.

“Treating us to this Iftar banquet in the month of Ramadan means a lot to us,” Almaainah said in a speech during the event. “We consider this as a gesture that enhances rapprochement and dialogue among religions and cultures.”

Iftar is the meal that marks the end of the monthlong Ramadan fast.

It is customary for diplomats from Muslim countries to host an iftar for each other during this month.The iftar hosted by the Foreign Ministry started at 6:55 p.m., as is customary in Muslim countries.

The government has held the event once a year since 2004.

“The Foreign Ministry holds the iftar dinner every year to improve understanding of Islamic culture and strengthen diplomacy toward Islamic countries,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

The ministry said the event is one of a number of activities with which it has been involved to strengthen ties with the 1.5 billion Muslims in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

“The ministry will try to expand cooperation with the Islamic community politically, economically and culturally,” it said in a statement.

Ramadan, which occurs in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, started on Aug. 11 this year and ended Thursday.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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