Da’wah in the United States

Da'wah in the United States

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Republika (8/3) reported the ban and detention of Ustaz Felix Siauw by the International Airport Authority of Houston, USA, on March 5, 2014. Ustaz Chinese descent reportedly jailed for 26 hours so he canceled his da'wah agenda in 11 states in the US.

News blocking Ustaz Felix Siauw is crowded into the topic of the congregation of Al-Hikmah mosque, New York. The reason, New York City will be the last city rihlah young ustaz preaching in the Land of Uncle Sam. Incidentally when in the process of detention, Ustaz Felix Siauw had time to deliver news of his imprisonment at once requested a prayer to Ustaz Shamsi Ali, a famous Islamic figure of New York from Indonesia. I am researching Islam in America and Imam Shamsi Ali following the development of Ustaz Felix Siauw's detention from him.

For Muslims in America, the screening process at the American International Airport is often a frightening specter. For those who have an Islamic name, especially the same name as a terrorist suspect, will be on the US Department of Home Land (DHL List) red list. When he entered the airport, his name was automatically cross-checked and immediately detained for interview by the airport immigration department. When news of Ustaz Felix Siauw was arrested, the Al-Hikmah mosque alleged that he was arrested for being included in the list. However, when it is known that the blocking is due to a visa violation, the rumor is eventually lost.

Ustaz Felix Siauw last year had actually conducted a preaching mission in America and there was no problem. When yesterday he was again invited by ICMI to speak in 11 states at a cost to be borne by the committee, the visa he used was B1 / B2 visa, which is a visitor visa. In America visa issues are very sensitive.

Ustaz Felix Siauw was asked whether to get honor from his da'wah activities, he answered yes. As a result of misuse of the visa, he was then detained for further investigation, not imprisoned as Republika news. After the examination, he was determined not to enter America. In some other cases, the denial of entry into America is usually without any explanation at all from the airport immigration authorities.

Of course, the rejection of Ustaz Felix Siauw is very unfortunate by Muslims in America, especially from Indonesia. The presence of ustaz from the country will further enliven the da'wah activities in the land of Uncle Sam who is currently being stretched.

Fertile Land

In the aftermath of 9/11 terrorism, Islam in America faces a very tough challenge. Muslims after the events described by the media as people who adhere to violence and terrorism so it is considered dangerous for the safety of this Barack Obama country. But over time, Islam actually growing and find fertile land in America. Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf in his book Moving the Mountain: Be yond the Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America (2012), has predicted Islam in America will grow gradually.

Within 10 years, the number of Islamic centers or mosques in America has increased sharply. According to Imam Sham Ali, before the events of 9/11 in 2001 the number of mosques in New York can still be counted on the fingers. Currently, after 13 years of events passed, the number of mosques increased to 250 pieces spread throughout the city of New York. In fact, the Islamic Center Park 51, two blocks from Ground Zero where the WTC was destroyed, was allowed to stand by the then New York mayor, Bloomberg, of Jewish descent, when some New Yorkers were against him at the time.

The development of Islam can also be seen from the proliferation of halal food stalls. In the last four years in New York City sprung up street vendors (cart food) labeled "halal food". Nearly every crowd of New York attractions and attractions can be found easily in halal food stalls, such as in Times Square, UN offices, even near the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial site.Muslims in New York City are very fast growing. This is due to immigration factors or the arrival of migrant workers from Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Egypt, as well as inheritance and conversion into Islam. The growth of the quantity of Muslims is also accompanied by the growth of the flow of Islam. In New York City there are Sunni Muslim communities, Shiites, even Ahmadis. They are united with their respective differences developing their da'wah and also forming Islamic organizations at city and national level.

[caption id = "attachment_328005" align = "aligncenter" width = "640" caption = "With Imam Al-Hikmah Mosque New York from Bangladesh"]

Dakwah innovation

There is a unique side of Islamic da'wah activities in America. Dakwah is not only done exclusively internally, but also externally (outreach), that is through dialogue with other religious communities. Like Imam Shamsi Ali who initiated an interfaith dialogue program with the Jewish community together with Rabbi Marc Schneier, a famous figure of the Jewish Rabbi in New York. The idea of ??this dialog was initially opposed by both communities.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is often a fuel that easily ignites the emotions of priests and rabbis when they first dialogue. At that time, prejudice and stereotypes were still very strongly enveloped. Over time these two communities began to greet each other and understand each other. Imam Shamsi Ali and Rabbi Schneier even published a joint book entitled, Sons of Abraham: Issues Unite and Divide Jews and Muslims (2013), which describes the similarities and differences between the two religions of this prophet Abraham. The book was warmly welcomed by both Islamic and Jewish communities. Several times have been held book review, including on Sunday (9/3) in Jamaica New York Islamic Community.

(This is the writing series of my experience living in America, precisely at the University of California Santa Barbara, (UCSB) California, USA, as Visiting Research Scholar at Orfalea Center Global and International Studies during January – April 2014. This article was published in Republika Opinion , March 12, 2014 as a result of research visiting New York for 2 weeks 4- 18 March 2014)

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