In a new episode of Dr. Ali Afifi Ghazi’s YouTube show “Conversation with …,” which is produced by the Qatari Forum for Authors, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Jabir reported on his experience in North Korea. Al-Jabir explained that he loved traveling since he was a child, and that he has always been interested in different societies, cultures, traditions, and customs. He also described how he grew curious about North Korea and felt the urge to explore it and see for himself whether the images of North Korea presented in the media are true or not. He related that when he visited North Korea, he saw for himself the controversial laws that media outlets often mention. His group was assigned to government minders, and they were subjected to these rules. He decided to document his trip so that others would benefit from his experiences, following in the footsteps of early Muslim and European explorers. He noticed that there is only one mosque in North Korea, and it is used only to hold Friday prayers. The Pakistani embassy has a room used for prayers in Ramadan. Based on these observations, he is inviting charity organizations to fund the building of mosques in North Korea.

Another thing that caught AL-Jabir’s eye is how clean, beautiful, and elegant the whole country seemed to be. The North Koreans spare no effort to beautify their country and maintain its heritage as can be seen in museums and tourist attractions. He also noticed that there are relatively few people and cars. He saw a lot more bicycles than cars.

One of the interesting instructions Al-Jabir and his group received prior to their trip was a warning not to interact with North Korean citizens who do not speak any foreign languages. He noted that the short tour had a strict schedule, and his group was allowed only to visit predetermined places, which made it impossible for him to experience first-hand the daily lives of North Koreans.