Is Korea, North a Muslim country?

Is Korea, North a Muslim Country?

Welcome to our article that explores the question, "Is Korea, North a Muslim country?" In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the religious landscape of North Korea, shedding light on its predominant religion, cultural practices, and how it relates to Islam. Whether you are curious about the religious diversity of this enigmatic nation or seeking accurate information, this article aims to provide you with a well-researched and balanced perspective on the topic. So, let’s dive in and uncover the truth about the religious affiliation of North Korea!

History of Islam in North Korea

North Korea is known for its strict control over religion, particularly favoring the state-sponsored Juche ideology. As a result, Islam has had limited presence in the country throughout its history.

Influence of Islam in North Korea

Due to the restricted religious freedoms in North Korea, the influence of Islam is minimal. The country’s isolationist policies and emphasis on the state ideology have made it challenging for any religion, including Islam, to gain a significant foothold. As a result, there are only a few mosques and Islamic cultural centers in the country, which primarily cater to diplomats and foreign visitors.

Muslim population in North Korea

The Muslim population in North Korea is relatively small. It primarily consists of foreign diplomats, expatriates, and a few North Koreans who have converted to Islam. The exact number of Muslims in the country is difficult to determine due to limited information and access to reliable data.

Government’s attitude towards Islam

The North Korean government’s attitude towards Islam is complex. While the state ideology promotes atheism and discourages religious practices, including Islam, the government generally tolerates the presence of Islam for diplomatic reasons. Officially, North Korea recognizes Islam as a religion, but it strictly controls and monitors religious activities. The government closely regulates the few mosques and Islamic centers in the country, ensuring they adhere to state-sanctioned guidelines.

It is important to note that North Korea’s overall stance towards religion, including Islam, remains heavily restricted and controlled, making it challenging for the religion to flourish within the country’s borders.

Religious Demographics in North Korea

Dominant religions in North Korea

North Korea is officially recognized as an atheist state, with the government promoting Juche ideology, which emphasizes self-reliance and the supremacy of the state. As such, there are no dominant religions in North Korea. The state-controlled media and education system discourage religious beliefs and instead emphasize loyalty to the ruling party and its leaders.

Minority religious groups

Despite the dominance of atheism, North Korea does have a small number of religious adherents belonging to various minority groups. These include followers of Buddhism, Confucianism, Shamanism, and Chondoism. However, their numbers are extremely low, and their practices are heavily regulated and monitored by the government.

Islam’s presence in North Korea

Islam, as a minority religion, has a very limited presence in North Korea. The Muslim population in the country is estimated to be extremely small, with most sources indicating that it consists of a few hundred individuals, primarily foreign residents and diplomats from Muslim-majority countries.

The North Korean government tightly controls religious activities, and this applies to the practice of Islam as well. There are no mosques or Islamic religious institutions officially recognized by the state. Consequently, Muslims in North Korea face significant challenges in practicing their faith openly.

Given the government’s strict control over religious activities, it is difficult to ascertain the exact state of Islam in North Korea. However, it is important to note that the country’s overall religious landscape remains primarily atheistic, with limited space for religious diversity.

Misconceptions about North Korea and Islam

Common misconceptions

There are several common misconceptions about North Korea and its relationship with Islam. These misconceptions often arise due to limited information and the secretive nature of the North Korean government. Some of these misconceptions include:

  1. North Korea is a Muslim country: Contrary to popular belief, North Korea is not a Muslim country. The majority of the population in North Korea follows the Juche ideology, which is a political, social, and economic system developed by the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. Islam is a minority religion in North Korea, with only a small number of Muslims residing in the country.

  2. North Korea practices Sharia law: Another common misconception is that North Korea enforces Sharia law. However, the legal system in North Korea is based on socialist principles and is not influenced by Islamic law. The government of North Korea has strict control over the legal system and implements its own laws and regulations.

  3. Muslims are persecuted in North Korea: There is a misconception that Muslims face persecution in North Korea. While it is true that North Korea has a history of human rights abuses, religious persecution is not specifically targeted towards Muslims. The government restricts religious activities in general, regardless of the faith followed by individuals.

Factors contributing to misconceptions

Several factors contribute to the misconceptions surrounding North Korea and Islam. These factors include:

  1. Limited access to information: North Korea is known for its strict control over media and limited access to information. This lack of transparency makes it challenging to gather accurate and up-to-date information about the religious practices and beliefs of the North Korean population.

  2. Propaganda and misinformation: The North Korean government has been known to disseminate propaganda and misinformation to control the narrative surrounding the country. This can lead to the spread of false information about religious practices, including Islam, further perpetuating the misconceptions.

  3. Secrecy and isolation: North Korea’s isolation from the international community contributes to the misconceptions surrounding the country. The secretive nature of the government and limited interaction with the outside world make it difficult to verify information and dispel misconceptions.

Clarifying the truth

It is essential to clarify the truth about North Korea and its relationship with Islam. While North Korea is not a Muslim country and does not practice Sharia law, it is important to acknowledge the presence of a small Muslim population in the country. However, it is crucial to highlight that religious freedom is restricted in North Korea for all faiths, not just Islam.

To gain a better understanding of the religious landscape in North Korea, it is necessary to rely on verified sources and reports from individuals who have had direct experience or knowledge of the situation. By challenging misconceptions and promoting accurate information, we can foster a more nuanced understanding of North Korea and its religious landscape.


In conclusion, Korea, North is not a Muslim country. Despite having a small Muslim population, estimated to be around 10,000 individuals, the country’s official religion is not Islam. The majority of North Koreans practice Juche, an ideology that revolves around self-reliance and the worship of their leaders. While there is religious freedom guaranteed by the constitution, the dominant belief system remains centered around the country’s political ideology rather than any particular religion. Therefore, it is inaccurate to categorize Korea, North as a Muslim country.

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