Imam Shamsi Ali

        Imam Shamsi Ali adalah Ulama Islam dan Imam terkenal di New York City, Amerika Serikat. Beliau adalah seorang Ulama Tafsir (a revered Qur'an scholar) dan Ilmu Perbandingan Agama, fasih berbicara Indonesia, Inggris, Arab dan Urdu. 

Saat ini Imam Shamsi Ali menjabat sebagai Direktur/Imam Jamaica Muslim Center New York, komunitas Muslim terbesar di kota New York, Presiden Nusantara Foundation (yayasan yang didirikannya tiga tahun lalu, dan juga Presiden Muslim Foundation of America, sebuah yayasan dakwah di Amerika Serikat. 

Imam Shamsi Ali juga pernah menjabat sebagai Imam Islamic Center New York dan Ketua Masjid Al-Hikmah, masjid milik warga Indonesia di kota New York. Kiprahnya di organisasi internasioanl sangat banyak, di antaranya sebagai anggota Dewan Penasehat untuk sejumlah organisasi antara agama, termasuk Pusat Tanenbaum dan Federasi untuk Perdamaian Timur Tengah, Ketua Dewan Pembina untuk Asean Federation of Muslim Amerika Utara, anggota Dewan untuk Kemitraan Imam di NY, pendiri-bersama (co-founder) UNCC (Rohaniwan Universal Koalisi-International).
- Presiden dan anggota Dewan Yayasan Muslim Amerika, Inc., Ketua Parade tahunan Muslim di NYC., Wakil Presiden Koalisi Asia di Amerika (AAC-USA) dan Perwakilannya di PBB.

Di kalangan komunitas Muslim Indonesia di Amerika Utara Imam Ali adalah Dewan Penasehat IMSA (Indonesian Muslim Society di Amerika), juga Dewan Penasehat ICMI (Indonesian Muslim Society Intelektual di Amerika). Dikenal di kalangan komunitas antar agama, menjadi penceramah di gereja-gereja, sinagog Yahudi, dan lembaga-lembaga lainnya baik secara nasional dan internasional.

Imam Shamsi Ali salah satu dari dua Imam yang diundang untuk menemani Presiden George W. Bush di saat mengunjungi Ground Zero beberapa hari setelah 11 September. Berpartisipasi dalam Konferensi Internasional Imam dan Rabi untuk Perdamaian di Seville Spanyol 2006 dan National Summit pertama Imam dan Rabi Amerika Utara 2007, mewakili komunitas Muslim pada diskusi antar-agama dalam acara dialog Agama dan Pembangunan Berkelanjutan di Gedung Putih pada tahun 2007. Imam Ali juga berpartisipasi dalam Dialog Antar Agama Transatlantic 2008 di Frankfurt, Jerman. 

Imam Shamsi dinobatkan sebagai salah satu dari tujuh tokoh agama yang paling berpengaruh di New York City oleh New York Magazine (2006). Juga diangkat "Duta Perdamaian" oleh Federasi Internasional Agama Penghargaan Interfaith ICLI 2008. Dan dianugerahi sebagai salah satu dari 100 penerima the 2009 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Award. Ini medali emas bergengsi non militer adalah pengakuan tertinggi yang diberikan kepada imigran dengan kontribusi luar biasa kepada masyarakat Amerika dan dunia dan baginya, itu karena dedikasi tanpa henti dalam membangun jembatan antara komunitas agama. Pada tahun 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, dan 2014, Imam Ali terpilih sebagai salah satu dari 500 Muslim paling berpengaruh di dunia oleh Studi Islam Royal Center Strategis di Yordania dan Universitas Georgetown.

Riwayat Pendidikan memperoleh gelar BA dalam tafsir dari Universitas Islam Internasional Islamabad-Pakistan pada tahun 1991 dan gelar MA dalam Studi perbandingan Agama dari universitas yang sama pada tahun 1994. 

Imam Shamsi Ali memiliki kesempatan untuk bertemu dengan berbagai tokoh, seperti mantan Presiden GW Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Pataki, Michel Bloomberg, serta Presiden Bambang Yudhoyono dan mantan Presiden RI Prof BJ Habibie dan KH Abdurrahman, dan tentunya presiden terpilih Amerika saat ini Donald Trump. 

Imam Shamsi Ali telah menerbitkan banyak tulisan di berbagai media, dan beberapa buku antara lain Dai Muda di NYC (GIP, 2008), True Love in America (GIP 2010), Sons of Abraham (Beacon Press, 2013 USA), Menebar Damai di Bumi Barat (Mizan 2014) dan Anak-Anak Ibrahim (Mizan 2014), dan 7 Tokoh Dunia (Gramedia 2016). 

Di penghujung tahun 2014 lalu Imam Shamsi Ali mendirikan Yayasan Nusantara di Amerika untuk menjadi jembatan dakwahnya yang lebih luas, sekaligus menjadi jalan mengenalkan negara asalnya, Indonesia. Kiprahnya di dunia Internasional menjadikannya satu dari segelintir anak bangsa yang “go Internasional” dalam dunia dakwah. Bahkan tidak berlebihan jika dikatakan satu-satunya pemimpin Muslim asal Indonesia yang menembus dunia Barat dalam membangun imej positif tentang agama Islam.

Imam Shamsi Ali yang berasal dari Indonesia, serta lahir dan dibesarkan di Bulukumba, Sulawesi Selatan, daerah yang terkenal perahu kayu tradisional yang disebut pinisi. Berusia 49 tahun dan saat ini tinggal di Jamaika, Queens, dengan Mutiah (istri) dan enam orang anak.

Melalui Yayasan Nusantara, Imam Shamsi Ali saat ini sedang berjuang mendirikan pondok pesantren pertama di Amerika. Sebuah properti dengan lahan seluas 7.4 hektar di kota Moodus Connecticut telah dibeli beserta beberapa gedung untuk dijadikan pesantren. Melalui pesantren tersebut Imam Shamsi Ali berusaha mengenalkan Islam yang ramah, berkemajuan dan sejalan dengan nilai-nilai positif modernitas. Atau lebih dikenal dengan istilah Islam yang rahmatan lil-alamin kepada dunia


IMAM SHAMSI ALI

IMAM SHAMSI ALI

The Nur Inka Nusantara Madani and Pesantren

 16 August 2019 Nusantara Foundation

Welcoming the 74th Independence Day RI, I once again sent down light strokes about my confusion as an Indonesian nationality. Hopefully there's benefits!

When I first announced the plan to establish an Islamic boarding school in America and it went viral, many wondered. I wonder what is really the main motivation so that I do this quite ambitious project?

Is it because Islamic education institutions in America, especially New York, are inadequate? Or was it because pesantren were needed to face the rise of Islamophobia in America? Or is there any motivation or other reason that the establishment of this pesantren was launched?

I emphasize that the motivation is very diverse and urgently. There are about 800,000 to one million Muslims In the city of New York. This means that there are around 10% of Muslims from the entire population of New York City, which amounts to around 10 to 12 million.

In the NYPD, for example, there are currently around 12,000 members of the police who are Muslim. In public schools there are around 120,000 students who are Muslim. This means that around 13% of all public schools in the city of Bew York are Muslim. Naturally, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha have officially become school holidays in New York City.

There are 12 full-time Islamic schools in New York City. Not to mention the memorizing schools of the Koran who pass dozens of hafiz every year.

In government offices, from the mayor's office, the New York Parliament, to other agencies, including sub-district offices, there are always Muslim staff. At a minimum the staff serves as "liaison" (liaison) between government offices and the Muslim community.

Even since the time of Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, there have been two "commissioners" (members of the mayor's cabinet) who were Muslim. Both are smart young women. One of Palestinian ancestry and another of Iranian descent. Two countries that are actually considered unfriendly to America.

That mess

Since I arrived in New York City about 21 years ago, precisely at the end of 1997, I have more or less felt the turmoil. In the midst of the growth as well as the enormous challenges of Islam, it turned out that I hardly found any children of the nation playing a role in America, even other global worlds.

In the United States itself, specifically New York City, Islamic preachers and education practitioners are dominated by Middle Eastern, South Asian or IPB citizens (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), and of course Africans especially Afro American Muslims.

But in the last decade, I became even more upset when I discovered the reality that this country and nation were not as popular, even with other ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and even Cambodia.

Take it for example in the culinary world. Every foreigner to Indonesia will fall in love with Indonesian foods. Not one or two kinds. But from Sabang to Merauke, the foods are amazingly delicious and of extraordinary variety.

But compared to Thailand and Malaysia for example, overseas Indonesian restaurants are almost nothing. In New York City for example Vietnamese restaurants are even more numerous and popular than Indonesian restaurants.

And even sadder is when Indonesia is relatively unknown as the country with the world's largest Muslim population. Often precisely what is thought to be the world's largest Muslim country is Egypt, Iran, and even Saudi Arabia.

As an illustration, I convey funny events on several occasions. For example, I was invited to give an Islamic presentation at an American university. When I introduced myself that I came from Indonesia, not many were enthusiastic. But when I mention the word Bali, everyone seems to be excited because they know Bali well. That is, as if Indonesia is only part of Bali.

On another occasion I introduced myself as a citizen with the world's largest Muslim population. Suddenly someone interrupted: "are you from Egypt" (you are from Egypt)? Some have said: "oh are you a Saudi" (you are a Saudi)?

One day I even introduced the largest Muslim country in Southeast Asia. Some say: "are you from Malaysia" (you are from Malaysia)?

Disorder after disorder has continued to haunt over the past two decades. But it seems unable to do anything to prove that Indonesia is a great, big country, and should be admired by the world. That Indonesia has a great history, has vast land and sea that is extraordinarily vast and rich. The fourth most populous country and third world democracy.

And of all that the most important thing for me is that Indonesia is a country with the world's largest Muslim population