US Ulema, Sheikh Bashar Arafat: West is Looking for Information about Islam

US Ulema, Sheikh Bashar Arafat: West is Looking for Islamic information (Sajadi/MINA)

Jakarta, MINA – United States Ulama, Sheikh Dr. Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat said that Western countries are thirsty for information about Islam.

“The West is looking for Islamic information, so you have to learn English so you can preach there. Especially if you memorize the Al-Quran and recite well. You just have to master English well,” said Bashar Arafat during his visit to the Headquarters of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Jakarta on Thursday.

Sheikh Bashar said that the ability to speak English, both written and spoken, is very important in preaching, especially in Western countries, such as the United States.

The scholar who was born in Damascus, recounted his personal experience, thanks to his English ability, he was given the opportunity to preach in the United States, and was entrusted with being an imam and preacher in a mosque. Now, he is believed to be the President of the Islamic Affairs Council of Maryland, one of the states in the US.

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Sheikh Bashar later founded the non-profit organization Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) in 2000, and is registered in the State of Maryland, USA.

In developing Islamic da’wah, his institution cooperates with several government and private institutions, including the State Department and the US Embassy regarding Religious Diplomacy.

He hopes that Indonesian clerics can improve their English language skills so that their da’wah can be accepted by Western society, and can cooperate with their institutions.

“While in the US, I have not seen a delegation of Indonesian clerics. If there are Indonesian clerics coming to our service, for three months in the United States, we can facilitate them to give lectures at various universities in Washington, New York and Texas. There may be delegations of Indonesian clerics But I haven’t seen it yet,” he said.

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“In addition to English language skills, Sheikh Arafat also stressed that scholars understand the culture in the United States. This is important so that preaching about Islam can be accepted in a country that has a lot of diversity,” he continued.

He suggested to da’wah institutions and Islamic boarding schools which are thriving in Indonesia, not only to have religious culture in Indonesia, but also how to learn to understand Western culture.

Sheik Dr. Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat, who is also the founder of Al Basheer Seminary in 2014, started conducting programs for embassies around the world.

One of the programs is the School of Religious Diplomacy for Leadership Development and Global Cooperation.


He and his team train how a cleric and imam of a mosque become a global leader, not just a local leader.

Present to give remarks to welcome guests, MUI Deputy Chairperson KH Marsudi Syuhud, and the MUI Commission on Foreign Relations and International Cooperation (HLNKI) Ambassador Bunyan Saptomo. (L/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)