Thu, Jul 07, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Ko vows to make Taipei ‘Muslim-friendly’ city

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Muslims yesterday gather at the Taipei Grand Mosque to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that Muslims are an important target group for his administration’s tourism policies, and promised to make Taipei a “Muslim-friendly” city.

Ko made the remark at an Eid-al-Fitr event at the Taipei Grand Mosque, where he was welcomed by a large crowd of Muslims, many of whom took photographs of the mayor with their cellphones.

Ko said that Taiwan is one of the friendliest places for Muslims to live or visit, adding that he hopes all Muslims can live happily in Taipei.

He said that many Muslims from around the world have settled in Taipei for work or through marriage, and that the city government would do its best to make them feel comfortable living in Taipei.

He said that Muslims are welcome to contact the city government with any concerns or grievances they have.

Responding to media questions about what Muslim-friendly policies have been implemented, Ko said that there is a prayer room for Muslims in the Taipei City Hall, which he said is rare among government agencies.

The number of certified halal restaurants in Taipei has also increased, Ko said, adding that as Muslims do not eat pork, halal restaurants are required to acquire certification.

He said that tourists from Islamic countries, as well as those from Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries, are defined as target groups by the Taipei Department of Tourism and Information in its tourism policies.

For example, city officials played videos about Taiwan’s tourist attractions on a trip to Malaysia, Ko said.

Asked whether Taipei placed its focus on Muslim tourists after experiencing a decline in Chinese tourists, Ko said that attracting Muslim visitors has always been part of the city government’s policy.

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