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Tsai lauds Muslim role in advancing New Southbound Policy

Tsai said that Muslim community is an important partner of Taiwan and indispensable force for promoting government’s New Southbound Policy

Taipei Grand Mosque.

Taipei Grand Mosque. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Sept. 18 that the Muslim community is an important partner of Taiwan and an indispensable force for promoting the government’s New Southbound Policy.

Muslim citizens and residents serve as a bridge linking the nation with the Islamic world, the president said, adding that she hopes they can continue to help expand mutually beneficial collaboration and exchanges with Muslim-majority countries.

Tsai made the remarks while receiving representatives from Taipei City-based Chinese Muslim Association at the Office of the President. During her address, she congratulated the delegation for successfully concluding the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca earlier this month.

According to the president, Islam is one of the world’s most influential religions and has many followers in Taiwan. These citizens and residents have made vital contributions to bolstering awareness and knowledge of the faith in the country, she said.

In order to make Muslim residents feel more at home, the government has undertaken a raft of measures to create a Muslim-friendly environment, Tsai said. These include setting up prayer rooms at major transportation facilities like airports, bus terminals and railway stations.

The government is also working to attract more Muslim visitors through initiatives such as promoting halal certification for local hotels and restaurants. These efforts are bearing fruit, with the number of certified establishments rising to 104 by April from just 11 six years ago.

According to the CMA, Taiwan’s Muslim population stands at over 250,000, comprising more than 50,000 ROC citizens and some 200,000 migrant workers. The nation was ranked the seventh most Muslim-friendly destination among non-Muslim countries in the 2016 Global Muslim Travel Index published by MasterCard-CrescentRating.