JEDDAH, 25 December 2006 — A Taiwanese Haj delegation held a meeting with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) yesterday at a reception hosted to the Taiwanese pilgrims by Munir J.Y. Chiou, director general at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Jeddah. They discussed various proposals in the interest of Muslims based in Taipei.
“We sought their help in funding a burial ground for Muslims in Taipei as land is very expensive there,” said Ali Ma Ju-Hu, leader of the 30-member Haj mission and president of the Taipei-based Chinese Muslim Association.
“We’ve been assured of help and assistance in solving the problem,” Ju-Hu said, adding that he also explained WAMY about various other measures the association has been taking to promote the interests of Muslims in Taiwan, which has a population of 23 million, 60,000 of them Muslim.
The association, established in 1938, is committed and dedicated to work for Islamic interests in close cooperation with the community. It also proposes to establish a cultural center for encouraging regular interaction between the Muslim and other communities, said Ju-Hu who has been heading the association for the last year. He has been elected for a three-year term.
The Indonesian and Thailand expatriate population in Taiwan has increased three-fold in the recent years and a majority of them are engaged in Islamic work, especially as teachers, said Ju-Hu, who has been here for the annual pilgrimage on four previous occasions.
Sheng-tsung Yang, representative at the Riyadh-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, said in his welcome speech that Taiwan’s ties with Saudi Arabia had been strengthening. The bilateral trade in 2006 is expected to reach the figure of $10 billion as against $8 billion in 2005, Yang said.
Taiwan’s annual exports to the Kingdom are around $500 million, while its import of oil from the Kingdom is phenomenally high. “The trade balance is heavily in favor of the Kingdom,” he said.