• Short Summary

    A growing number of Japanese are being converted to Islam. The number of Muslims is?

  • Description

    A growing number of Japanese are being converted to Islam. The number of Muslims is said to be increasing at a high rate, with about 1,000 Japanese embracing the religion every year.

    The association maintains close links with embassies of Muslim countries as well as Muslim governments. It is recognised in Japan as a religious legal body and has Japanese as well as non-Japanese Muslims among its members. Its most important function is "tableegh", or propagation of Islam. The association believes it has much of offer people living in a materialistic society and in search of peace.

    SYNOPSIS: The centre of activity for many of Japan's Muslims is the Tokyo mosque which was built in 1938.

    The mosque serves as a place of worship not only for local Muslims, but also for foreign visitors. To some visitors, it comes as a pleasant surprise to find a mosque in the Japanese capital. Islam came to Japan in the beginning of the present century when a handful of people accepted the new religion in the face of unfavourable circumstances. Today, the country has more than 10,000 followers. The first Japanese Muslim to perform Hajj -- pilgrimage to Mecca -- was in 1910.

    Shortly after World War One, about 600 Muslims of Turkish origin migrated to Japan from Russia in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. And it was they who helped spread Islam in their adopted country and also initiated moves that led to the building of Japan's first mosque -- in Kobe City in 1935 -- and the Tokyo mosque three years later.

    The present Imam, like his predecessor, is a Turk who arrived in Japan a few weeks ago. If more mosques are built, chances are that they will have Japanese Imams. Although the Tokyo mosque is not very old, it's already showing signs of wear and tear and is in need of repair.

    Seventy-eight-year old Haji Omar Mita is a leading Muslim scholar who has translated the holy Qur'an into Japanese. He was also the second president of the Japan Muslim Association which was established in 1952. Haji Omar's translation is regarded as the first authentic Japanese version of the Qur'an whose printing cost was borne by a Mecca, Saudi Arabia organisation. There have been a few other Japanese translations, but they were all by non-Muslims. The Japan Muslim Association is a lively organisation which holds Arabic classes and organises the teaching of the Qur'an. It receives some financial help from the World Muslim League.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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