In his capacity as Midwest and National Convener, Imam Bashir has had the opportunity to work with Imams across the region and country to promote and develop Islamic democracy and governance through Shuraa Baynahum. He has also worked with Imams and other community leaders to create the Midwest Leadership Conference and Community Leadership Summit to address critical areas of community development including: Marriage and Family Life; Education; Business and Economic Development; Culture; Government and Civic Engagement; Youth Development; and Leadership Development.
Imam Bashir Ali grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois in Architecture. He worked as an Architectural Engineer for eight years. Bashir recently retired as the Director of Workforce Development for Central Illinois, a position he held for twenty-five years. He has been a leader in economic, workforce and community development and has been the recipient of numerous international, national, and state awards. Bashir has also been director of a community-based organization and a community college administrator.
Imam Bashir Ali has been blessed with a beautiful family including three daughters, four step-children, and twenty-one grandchildren.
Imam Bashir Ali
Dear Imam Bashir Ali
Due to increasing what it came to be known as “Islamophobia”, it is not easy to be a Muslim in western countries these days. In a way, I admire and envy your strong belief and conviction, following your religion in the midst of negativity and sometimes hostilities. I believe that one can not stay firm in one’s beliefs if that belief is not fed with strong spirituality. Understanding or rediscovering that spirituality is the task I am going to undertake.
So Please allow me to introduce myself.
I am an Iranian who came to the USA in winter of 2014 and have settled in Pennsylvania.
In 2003, I engaged in a project that brought me what some people in Iran called it “Islamic blessing” as it was defined by Iranian religion authorities and at the end I am grateful that I survived the decade-long ordeal, and in some strange way, somehow I felt blessed.
What I started back in 2003 had nothing to do with politics, I am not a political person. What I was trying to do was to discover or better yet, to rediscover Islamic spirituality in our time in Iran, to understand what it means to be a Muslim in 21 century.
Now at the end of 2015, I am going to embark on such grandiose task one more time and start where I was cut off, but this time in a whole new environment very different from Iran in 2003. The world has changed since then and now I am aware of Islamophobia and negativity that exist regarding Islam. However, as in Iran, politics wasn’t and still it’s not my concern.
I am trying to uncover Islam spirituality at the time that negativity is rampant. To achieve my goal, I pose a few questions.
1- What is Islam?
2- Who is Muslim?
3- Why do you call yourself a Muslim?
4- What is Islamic respond to those who reject Islam in 21 century?
5- What is your dream and vision as a Muslim?
At the end, I am hoping to publish my work and by doing so, I plan to get back in the academic circle that once I belonged.
Therefore, I am humbly requesting you for 30 minutes of your time to sit together and I listen to you while you answer the aforementioned questions.
My promise to you will be that our conversation will be pleasant. I am not for or against Islam. Objectivity on the subject as hard as it may be these days is necessary for my task.