39 Itaewon has also become a base for the gay scene, with Western attitudes defining the mainstream in the district. Hong Seok-cheon, Korea’s most famous gay personal- ity, told NPR in 2012 he feels Itaewon is the only place he can live comfortably as a gay man. Reverend Daniel Payne, the senior pastor at the progressive Open Doors Community Church in Haebangchon, says, “Itaewon is the hub for gay foreigners and most young gay Koreans. At least on Homo Hill, many gay people find a safe place to be themselves without fear of reprisal and judgment.” Now Payne feels the gay scene is spilling out of Itaewon as people feel more comfortable with themselves. “As Korean society slowly — emphasis on slowly — opens up, many young gay Koreans are feeling more and more empowered to be out in other places and areas of life,” Payne says. Up by the mosque, Halal Hill developed. What was just a mosque became a sprawling “Muslim Town,” with ha- lal butchers, Islamic bookstores and guesthouses, and travel agents specializing in pilgrimages to Mecca. This was to cater not only to the increasing number of Korean Muslims, but also to the tens of thousands of Muslim laborers who were streaming into the country. Korea’s approximately 1,000 Jews also gather in Itae- won. Chabad House, near the Samsung museum, serves as a de facto “Jewish embassy” for Jews all over the country, providing religious services, kosher food and a place to meet. Rabbi Osher Litzman says the Jewish community has always centered around Itaewon. “Which is very convenient,” Litzman says. “Many people decide to live near us.” Jewish services used to be held on the base, but it was impossible to cater to everyone, because Israelis were not permitted to enter Yongsan Garrison. “Now, we are here, and we welcome everyone: Soldiers, Israelis, everyone is welcome to join us.” Spreading beyond the Hill