TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Large crowds packed Daan Forest Park as the Islamic Market kicked off on an unseasonably warm day Saturday morning.
Collaboratively organized by the Chinese Muslim Association and the Department of Information and Tourism of the Taipei City Government, the event featured 60 vendors selling items ranging from jewelry and other handmade crafts to Halal certificated food and cultural activities.
The event was held in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Chinese Muslim Association, which is dedicated to promoting a more Muslim-friendly environment in Taiwan as well as introducing Muslim culture to Taiwanese people.
Islam has 1.8 billion adherents, making up about 24 percent of the world population, while each country has a lot of differences from the others and the culture among them can be quite diverse. Among the 60 vendors, each of them features a different Muslim country worldwide from Central Asia, Indonesia, Middle East, South Asia, North Africa, attracting many people who are interested in knowing more about Islam to come and experience an exotic weekend.
The most popular vendors are those featuring culture activities. There are a few booths for visitors to receive a temporary henna tattoo which attracted a crowd to the venue, and another booth featuring Arabic calligraphy name writing also has a long line in front of it. The calligraphers from the Muslim Student Association write visitors’ names in Arabic calligraphy, and visitors can keep the artwork for free.
Other highly favored vendors from the events are cultural advocates of Morocco, Turkey, and Iran. A Moroccan /Taiwanese couple dedicating to introducing Moroccan culture brought Moroccan argan oil and handmade leather bags to their booth, a Turkish shop sells sweets brought from a renowned Turkish bakery Karakoy Gulluoglu, and an Iranian booth has the most authentic Iranian snacks and local products, such as sweet dates and one of the world's costliest spices, saffron.
Yu Cheng-Tai, the Managing Supervisor of the Chinese Muslim Association, indicated that most Taiwanese people are not familiar with Islam culture, while some even hold misunderstandings towards it. In fact, Islam is a religion of tolerance. “Some people might find the mosque unapproachable, however, it is actually a place where we hold a lot of social events that not only welcome Muslims but also people from other religions,” he added.