Korean scholar underscores need for true understanding of Islam and sustainable cooperation at SIBF 2023

SHARJAH, 2nd November, 2023 (WAM) -- Korean Scholar Lee Hee Soo has called for a true understanding of Islam and sustainable cooperation at the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair.

“Islam is not just a religion, it teaches coexistence and its people have noble ethics,” noted Emeritus Professor, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Hanyang University, Seoul in a discussion on “The Interconnection between Islamic world and the Republic of Korea”.

Prof Lee underscored the need to study Islam in a true manner and the need to have sustainable cooperation.

Moderated by Kim Ho, Professor at Seoul National University Asia Centre, the talk highlighted future plans for South Korea and the UAE, such as the construction of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, agricultural and life science exchange, medical cooperation, space industry cooperation, and cultural and artistic exchange.

Prof Lee pointed out there are many fields for bilateral cooperation in the future including hydrocarbons, and remembered the cooperation that went into the building of the Barakah power station and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. He noted that forums like SIBF encourage young literary people to participate in cultural events, and underlined the need for publishing more translations of Korean books in Arabic and English. “Most importantly, visit Korea,” Prof Lee exhorted the audience.

A leading authority on the Middle East and Islamic Studies in Korea, Prof Lee’s book in the Korean language, Islam and Islam for Children has sold over 200,000 copies. His Islam and Korean Culture is a classic which is available in five languages including Arabic.

Prof Lee who has lived in Turkey for 12 years and found vast similarities in the cultures of the Arab and Korean peninsula, felt that the exchanges had to continue like it has done in the past 1200 years through trade and commerce. Since the 13th century, Korea has had a large Muslim community which led to the establishment of The Great Mosque in the capital. In reply to a question from the audience, he said that four universities in South Korea had opened centres for learning Arabic.

The Sharjah International Book Fair is being held from November 1-12 at Sharjah Expo Centre. Organised by Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the fair carries the theme ‘We Speak Words’, and is staging 1,700+ events to promote cultural appreciation and ignite creativity in visitors of all age groups.