Since Barack Obama's announcement that he would set up an exploratory commitee to weigh pursuing a Presidential run Indonesia and many Muslims around the world has been thrilled.
Indonesians see Obama as one of their own and many in Indonesia have high hopes that Obama will usher in a new era of peace and cooperation between Indonesia and the United States and more importantly that Obama will be instrumental in convincing Americans that they must adopt a new perspective towards Islam.
Since the so-called madrassa smear, the Indonesian media has been very supportive of Obama and has regurgitated much of what CNN and the mainstream media in the United States have had to say regarding Obama's education as a child in Indonesia oft times using Obama's own books as references.
It would seem right now that for Obama, the focus seems to be solely on his race and religion. No one seems interested in his politics, or policies. Indonesians are either unaware or seem completely oblivious to Obama's stance on issues such as partial-birth abortion and are for the most part seemingly uninterested in seeing the rest of his voting record.
Not only is Obama seen by Indonesians as a black man who is struggling against racial prejudices to become the first black president of the United States, he is still seen a Muslim.
For Indonesian's the facts are clear. Barack Obama was born a Muslim, he was given a Muslim name, he was registered as a Muslim in school and in the minds of many Indonesians has never personally denied that fact until now.
Considering the hopes and dreams of Indonesians, it is hard to say at this time what the Indonesian reaction will be to Barack Obama's apostasy and denial. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country seems to be ever so slowly drifting towards a less extremist view towards apostasy as evidenced by the following letter published in the Washington Post last year by Indonesia's former President Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid entitled "Extremism Isn't Islamic Law".
A virtuous man worthy of being the President of the United States would be more forthcoming with the American people and not deceptively try to hide from his Muslim heritage.
Hopefully the Indonesians and more importantly the Americans will look beyond Barack Obama's "race and religion" and judge Barack Obama solely by his character, his policies and interests that he represents.