Wednesday November 8, 2017

(VOVWORLD) - Hello and welcome to Letter Box, our weekly feature dedicated to listeners around the world. 

A: First on our show today, we’d like to welcome Jyrki Hytonen of Finland, who listens to Voice of Vietnam from time to time. He wrote: “I have often visited the Voice of Vietnam homepage and read and listened to your program. My knowledge of Vietnam has increased during recent years. I have a relative married to a Vietnamese girl and I’ve heard many stories about Vietnamese coffee. Many tourists from Finland visit Vietnam and tourism is increasing boosting awareness of your country and perhaps new listeners and visitors will visit both your country and your website. Now I read that ASEAN countries are coopering in tourism development. “

B: Thank you, Mr. Jyrki, for tuning in to our program and visiting our website. Vietnam is now promoting tourism as a spearhead economic sector. Vietnam set a target of receiving 10 million international tourists in 2017. In less than 9 months, the tourism sector had already served more than 9.5 million foreign visitors, indicating that Vietnam has become more attractive as a tourist destination.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 1Vietnam sets a target of receiving 10 million international tourists this year 

A: Vietnam began to grant e-visas at the beginning of the year and plans to pilot the model for 2 years. The e-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, single entry, for tourism purposes. It doesn’t require letters of guarantee or invitation as in the past. The time needed to process an e-visa application is normally 3 working days. Payment is made electronically. Since July 1st, Vietnam has granted a visa waiver to citizens of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The policy will continue for one year. In recent years, the annual growth rate of international arrivals to Vietnam has been as much as 7.2%.

A: This week, Fachri of Indonesia listened to our broadcast in November and asked a question about the Muslim community and Mosques in Vietnam.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 2 Saigon Central Mosque (Photo: internet)

B: Islam in Vietnam is primarily the religion of the Cham people, however, roughly one-third of Muslims in Vietnam are of other ethnic groups.There is also a community of mixed ethnic origins: Cham, Khmer, Malay, Minang, Viet, Chinese and Arab, who practice Islam and are also known as Cham, or Cham Muslims, who live in Chau Doc, southern An Giang province.

A: The first official Muslim envoy was believed to be sent to Vietnam and Tang Dynasty China in the year 650. Seafaring Muslim traders are known to have made stops at ports in the Champa Kingdom en route to China very early in the history of Islam; however, the earliest material evidence of the transmission of Islam consists of Song Dynasty- era documents from China which record that the Cham familiarised themselves with Islam in the late 10th and early 11th centuries.

B: The number of followers began to increase as contacts with Sultanate of Malacca broadened in the wake of the 1471 collapse of the Champa Kingdom, but Islam would not become widespread among the Cham until the mid-17th century. In the mid-19th century, many Muslim Chams emigrated from Cambodia and settled in the Mekong Delta region, further bolstering the presence of Islam in Vietnam.

A: Malayan Islam began to have an increasing influence on the Chams in the early 20th century; religions publications were imported from Malaya, Malay clerics gave Khutba(sermons) in mosques in the Malay language, and some Cham people went to Malayan madrasah to further their studies of Islam. The Mekong Delta also saw the arrival of Malay Muslims.

B: Vietnam's 1999 census showed that there were more than 60,000 Muslims in the country. Over 77% lived in the South Central Coast; another 22% lived in the Mekong Delta region, and only 1% of Muslims lived in other regions.

A: There are a number of Muslim mosques in Vietnam. But in our show today, let’s check out the 5 top mosques in Ho Chi Minh City.

B: Saigon Central Mosque is maybe one of the earliest and more prominent mosques in the city. Built in the 1930s by South Indian Muslims, Saigon Central Mosque impresses its visitors with its featured architecture, solemn atmosphere and availability of halal food outside. Originally, the mosque was a place only for Indians worshipers who lived in the city. But, these days, any Muslim can visit the mosque to worship and practice their belief.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 3 Cho Lon Mosque (Photo: internet)

B: Cho Lon Mosque is another popular destination for Muslims in Ho Chi Minh city. Situated in the Cholon – Chinatown area and constructed in 1932, Cholon Mosque initially served Muslim communities from Southern India who resided in the area. But it has been open for Malaysian and Indonesian Muslims in Vietnam since 1975. What makes it noticeable and striking from the complicated Chinese and Vietnamese pagodas on the same street is the clean lines, simple ornamentation, as well as color scheme of the building.

A: The best time to pay a visit to the mosque is around lunch or dinner, because you’ll have a chance to enjoy tasty halal food at the restaurant on the ground floor. If you’re experiencing solo travel in the first time, Cholon Mosque is quite comfy.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 4  Jamiul Islamiyah mosque (Photo: internet)

B: Also known as Nancy Mosque, Jamiul Islamiyah was built in 1950. Then, it was rebuilt between1980 and 2003. The mosque officially welcomed the ethnic Cham minority group and other Muslim followers in 2004. In fact, this is one of the primary Saigon mosques that serve a large Muslim community nearby. If you are hungry, just take a few steps around the back alleyways and you are easily able to see a halal restaurant, called Pho Muslim where you can satisfy your taste buds with one or two yummy meals. 

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 5Al Rahman Mosque  (Photo: internet)

A: When it comes to the list of top mosques in Ho Chi Minh City, it is a big mistake to ignore Al Rahman. Built in 1885, it was the first mosque built in the country. Situated in District 1, it mainly serves Malaysian and Indonesian groups every weekend. Al Rahman not only keeps noticeable Muslim symbols (crescent moons and stars) in its design and building, but also comes with pristine and solid beauty, thanks to the walls’ magnificent decoration.

Wednesday November 8, 2017 - ảnh 6Jamiyah Islamic Mosque (Photo: internet)

B: Located in Nguyen Van Troi, one of the most hectic streets in the city, Jamiyah Islamic Mosque can be easily found and accessed. It has served as a place of divine worship for Cham people who mostly practice Islam. Maybe, the most outstanding feature of this mosque is its architectural overview. There are two distinguishing areas here. The upstairs is the prayer center and the downstairs is reserved to teach children.

A: In a letter to VOV this week Bhaikan Hazarika of India expressed his interest in our Weekend Music Show program on November 4th at 1620 UTC on the frequency o 7280 khz. Rated SINPO at 43343, he wrote: “In today's 'Weekend Music Show' program, you played some wonderful Vietnamese songs inspired by poetry. The first song sung by a male singer which you had played was so great. The second song was also beautiful. I found today's program most entertaining and enjoyable.”

B: Thank you, Mr. Hararika for your regular reports on our program. We’ll confirm them with QSL cards. This week, Patrick Travers of the UK listened to VOV on November 4 from 1610 to 16:30 UTC on the frequency of 7280 khz. He wrote: “It’s always a pleasure listening to the Voice of Vietnam. It is one of my favorite stations.”

A: We’d also like to acknowledge letters and emails from Hector Frias Jofre of Chile, Richard Nowak of the US, Mizanur Raman of Bangladesh, Richard Lemke of Canada, Eddy Prabowo of Indonesia, Ramu Karthik andSekar Thalainayar of India, and Konstantin Pravotorov of Ukraine. We greatly appreciate your feedback and comments on the technical aspects of our programming. We’ll confirm your reports with QSL cards soon.

A: We welcome your feedback at: English section, Overseas Service, Radio the Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: You’re invited to visit us online at, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Check out our VOV Media App available on both IOS and Android platforms to hear our live broadcasts. We look forward to your feedback on the mobile version of Once again, thank you. Good bye until next time.