Islam first arrived in Taiwan when the Kingdom of Tungning was established in Taiwan by the Ming Chinese military leader Koxinga along with Muslim families from the Chinese province of Fujian. These Muslim families are believed to be the first Muslim settlers in Taiwan and their descendants later grew into Taiwanese society and became a part of modern Taiwan over time.
At present Taiwan is home to over 60,000 Muslims, with Islam being a growing religion in the country. The country is also home to a very large number of employed foreign Muslims from South East Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.
Taiwan is home to a total of seven prominent mosques that cater to the sizable Muslim community residing in the country - Taipei Grand Mosque, Kaohsiung Mosque, Taipei Cultural Mosque, Taichung Mosque, Longgang Mosque, Tainan Mosque and At-Taqwa Mosque.
The Taipei Grand Mosque is the oldest and most prominent mosque in the country. It was established in 1947 and is considered to be a historic landmark. The mosque is located in the Da'an district of Taipei City and can accommodate up to 1,000 worshippers during prayer times. Its building structure is noted for its Arabic architecture and it offers a prayer hall as well as a reception hall, administrative offices, ablution rooms and a library.
The second oldest mosque in Taiwan is the Kaohsiung Mosque located in Lingya, Kaohsiung City. Built in 1949, the Kaohsiung Mosque can be accessed from the Weiwuying Station of Kaohsiung MRT. The building covers an area of over 2,500 square metres and features prayer halls, nooks, corners and components that reflect Middle Eastern architectural elements.
Taipei Cultural Mosque located in Zhongzheng, Taipei City, was established in 1950 and is owned by the Chinese Islamic Youth Association - an organisation of Chinese Muslims in Taiwan. It is considered to be a 'civilian mosque' and features a 5 storey building offering prayer facilities to the Muslim community in the area.
The Taichung Mosque and Longgang Mosque are located in Nantun, Taichung City and Zhongli, Taoyuan County respectively and are amongst the prominent mosques in Taiwan. Both mosques offer ample facilities for worshippers during prayer times and are also host to many religious activities and events.
Other mosques that Muslim travellers can visit in Taiwan are the Tainan Mosque - located in East, Tainan City - and the At-Taqwa Mosque - located in Dayuan, Taoyuan County. They are two of the more recent mosques to have been built and see many worshippers during prayer times. Plans are also underway to construct more mosques across the country to cater to the increasing number of Muslim inhabitants in Taiwan.
The history of Islam in Taiwan dates back to around the 17th century. The country is home to a small Muslim population and travellers to Taiwan will be able to find sufficient facilities including quite a few mosques. Read on for more information about mosques in Taiwan.