INDONESIA: Radical Muslim group to protest Obama visit

The same group that threatened the American President’s life before his last cancelled trip to Indonesia will be out again to protest Barack Obama for not being Muslim enough.

Jakarta GlobeOne of the country’s most conservative hard-line Islamic groups has lashed out against the upcoming visit by the “cruel” US President Barack Obama, despite most commentators viewing it as an embrace of the Muslim world.

On Saturday and Sunday, there were rallies organized by Hizbut Tahrir in Jakarta, Mataram in East Nusa Tenggara, and Makassar in South Sulawesi.

A spokesman for the group estimated that across the three cities 20,000 took part, while independent estimates put the Jakarta protest at about 2,000. Ismail Yusanto, a spokesman for the group, called Obama “a cruel president, no different from [George W.] Bush, with blood on his hands, and without [showing] the slightest compassion.”

He lashed out against the role he said the US played in the “destruction of Muslim countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and the killing of the people there.” “Obama may be a guest, but there are two kinds of guests: the good kind and the problematic kind,” Ismail said, adding that Obama fell in the latter category.

The hostile reaction in the run-up to the landmark visit comes amid reconciliatory moves by the White House toward Muslims following Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech.

Then, he said he was seeking “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.”

Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, previously said a planned visit to Istiqlal Mosque, Indonesia’s largest, would “underscore the themes that he’s made in terms of outreach to [Muslims] around the world.”

He said the president would also “be able to speak to Indonesia’s rise as a democracy, Indonesia’s rise as an emerging economy, and the pluralism that its story represents.”

On Friday, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder and chief executive of the American Society for Muslim Advancement and leader of the Al-Farah Mosque in New York, said at the State Palace in Central Jakarta that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s meeting with Obama presented an opportunity to promote cooperation and change negative perceptions of Islam.

“You will have the opportunity to discuss with my president in the next few days … how we can work together and cooperate together to create this kind of momentum — global momentum,” he said.

However, Hizbut Tahrir’s Ismail said the group was determined to greet Obama with protests. “We’ll certainly be back on Monday, but Tuesday’s protests will depend on whether Obama’s arrival is confirmed,” Ismail said. “Given the current circumstances, I think he might cancel.”

Tuesday’s demonstrations will take place in Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo, Padang in West Sumatra and Pekanbaru in Riau province.

Meanwhile, in Mataram on Saturday, around 1,000 Hizbut Tahrir demonstrators protested against “US imperialism in Indonesia.”

Protesters were seen holding banners that said “Obama is a Jew” — a far cry from accusations he faces at home of being a Muslim — and said Obama’s visit will be an attempt to soften up the Indonesian authorities and boost US economic and political interests in the country and the region.

“We must remember that Obama leads a country that is an enemy to Muslims,” Ismail said in Mataram.

Question: Does Obama look more Muslim covering his head in the holiest place of the the Sikhs; The Golden Temple Of Amritsar, or giving major world speeches to the Muslim world and visiting/praying in mosques?

JAKARTA, Indonesia – The President, who refused to visit the moderate Sikh Golden Temple in India “because he did not want to look like a Muslim by covering his head” is to make his second major speech to the Islamic world directly after a visit to Gymnastiar’s Istiqlal Masjid in Jackarta, committed to the destruction of Israel. Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is currently a bestseller in Indonesia and the architecture of the independence Istiqlal mosque has been described as ‘fascist.’

US President Barack Hussein Obama will visit the largest mosque in Jakarta and make a major speech on his visit to Indonesia after leaving India the White House said. The President will talk about his outreach to Muslim communities around the world and the glory of Islamic culture and civilisation.  AFP.

VIDEO of last March’s protest over Obama visit