Some of the many Indonesian-American Muslim children served by IMAAM's Sunday School program. Photo courtesy of IMAAM.
There are many ethnic communities scattered around the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan region that gather at community centers and cater to the cultural and religious needs of their Muslim congregation, teaching languages and promoting ties to the land where their ancestors migrated from.
One of these active communities is the Indonesian Muslims Association of America, or IMAAM. Under the banner of Da'wah, Education, Prosperity, and Community Development, IMAAM services the Indonesian Muslim community of the Washington DC area. The Muslim Link interviewed Bagus Adiyanto , the secretary of IMAAM.
TML : Please give us a brief history of IMAAM.
IMAAM is a faith-based organization in which the majority of its members are Muslims from Indonesia. Founded in 1993, IMAAM is a religious, charitable, and non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Rockville, Maryland largely serving Indonesian-speaking immigrants in the Greater Washington, D.C.
IMAAM is governed by a 9-member democratically elected board of trustees comprising of men and women. IMAAM engages in regular social services, community services, including interfaith activities to support harmonious relationships among different faiths.
TML : What services are provided?
We have a Sunday school program. Sixteen years ago, H.E. DR Arifin Siregar, Indonesian Ambassador for the US, along with IMAAM President and Director of Education Shahir Kadir, signed and inaugurated the "Indonesian Madrasah" (Muslim School) at the Bethesda Elementary School. Classes are held for beginners, intermediate, teenage/young adults, and adults. The beginner and advanced classes are taught in English and Indonesian languages. The curriculum consists of Introduction to Islam, Qur'anic Studies, Sirah of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu'alyhi wa sallam, Acts of Worship, and other courses. IMAAM uses various methods of instruction including regular classes, field trips, audio-visual, games, and discussions.
We also hold Friday Prayer, offer and collect zakat and charity, help with funeral services, and we have a marriage service.
IMAAM also has several social activities that our youth are currently involved in including summer camp, thanksgiving gathering, food basket, and the DC central kitchen.
TML : What facilities do you currently have?
IMAAM currently has 2 houses located on Veirs Mill Road in Rockville. The facilities are currently used as the main office for executive committee meeting and social activities.
TML : What language is are the classes and khutbahs?
English is the primary language used in classes and khutbah.
TML : How has the community grown over the past decade?
IMAAM has 300 registered families and we serve about 2500 community members scattered throughout the Greater D.C area. Most our our members live in Maryland, Virginia and DC.
TML : How would you describe the character of your community?
We are an inclusive and open community even though the majority of its members have Indonesian background, we also serve Muslim from different backgrounds as part of the Ummah.
TML : What are the plans of growth and expansion?
We are currently renting a facility from Montgomery County for Sunday school and Friday prayer. We plan to find a permanent place that provides us room for growth of our community and for worship, education and social activities.
IMAAM is currently led by Br. Firdaus Kadir, Board of Trustee Chairman; Br. Oscar Zaky, President; Sr. Nadia Syahmalina, Vice President; Sr. Farhana Setiadji, Treasurer; Br. Bagus Adiyanto, Secretary; and Br. Misno Syuardi, Madrasah Principal.
For more information please visit the IMAAM website www.imaam.org.