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Jan 26, 2007

Responding to Questions regarding Obama


An Indonesian reader has made several comments in the threads below, I have compiled the comments here for your reading pleasure.


"Your quote that Barry was "previously quite religious in Islam" is not found anywhere in the article."

Yes it is.

"Saat itu, dia memang beragama Islam..."

Translated in English means

"At that time, he was quite religious in Islam."

This is not the only report that stated that "Barry Soetoro" was quite religious in Islam (there are many others), Rony Amir who now works as a Bank Manager and was a classmate of Obama has also made the same exact claims to the Indonesian media.


"While he was six, in Indonesia, being the son of a Muslim stepfather, it was quite likely that his official registered religion would be Islam. This is why, as an Associated Press article pointed out, Senator Obama's religion in the school records as a child in Indonesia was Islam. There is nothing wrong with this."

No one is saying there is anything wrong with this.

However the Obama camp is now telling the American people that Obama was never a Muslim, and that is clearly a lie.

"Since Senator Obama registered as a Muslim, it is also likely that he attended the Islamic classes and was taught basic Islamic teachings, prayers, etc. Again, there is nothing wrong with this and this possibility should be openly acknowledged."

Yes, you are correct, Obama did in fact attend Islamic classes and he was taught basic Islamic teaching and laws. He also would have a big healthy indoctriation of Pancasilla.

And I agree with you, Obama should openly acknowledge this.

Perhaps photographs of Obama as a child dressed in a sarong and songkok performing his Friday prayers at the mosque would be more convincing and perhaps might help to persuade Barack Obama that he should be more forthcoming with the American people concerning his past.


"There is no way that Indonesian teachers at the school would teach six year old students to hate the west or hate people of other religions. Since he was only six, doubtless he has forgotten most, if not all, of the things that was taught in his religion class.

The facts are that Islam is not very tolerant of other religions.

"However, this experience would still be positive for him because it exposed him to a welcoming environment of Muslim kids who are his friends and classmates. This would allow him, on a personal basis, to be more tolerant and understanding toward Muslims around the world.

Yes, many Muslims including those in Indonesia do sincerely feel that Obama would be more sympathetic to the struggle of Muslims and their concerns around the world.



3 comments:

  1. Kemsey11:56 PM

    "Saat itu, dia memang beragama Islam..."

    Translated in English means

    "At that time, he was quite religious in Islam." WRONG

    the RIGHT translation:
    "At that time, he was indeed a Muslim..."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sekarang, Obama menyangkal dia adalah orang Muslim.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As the Indonesian reader who made the comments, I would like to respond. I apologize if my earlier comments sound too emotional or disrespectful.

    You have quoted me selectively and taken me out of context. Plus your translations are not accurate.

    "Saat itu, dia memang beragama Islam..."

    does not translate to:

    "At that time, he was quite religious in Islam."

    the correct translation is:

    "At that time, his religion was indeed Islam"

    You have added the words "quite religious".

    As a six year old enrolling in a public school, his stepfather registered him as a Muslim in the school. This does not mean that he automatically becomes a Muslim. A six year old has no say in how he is enrolled; in fact, he would not even care. And you also tried to make it to look as if Obama's stepfather was a religious man. If he was a hardline Muslim, would he ever allow his son to go to a Catholic school? Obama's description of his stepfather as a moderate Muslim, who incorporates Hindu and traditional (animistic) beliefs is accurate.

    You stated in your post above that:

    "This is not the only report that stated that "Barry Soetoro" was quite religious in Islam (there are many others), Rony Amir who now works as a Bank Manager and was a classmate of Obama has also made the same exact claims to the Indonesian media."

    Again, the two articles that you cited did not say that Obama was "quite religious". And Ronny and Emir again never made those claims. See my original comments.

    then you say:

    "However the Obama camp is now telling the American people that Obama was never a Muslim, and that is clearly a lie."

    This is not a lie. There is big a difference between being registered as a Muslim in the enrollment papers at a public school when you are six years old, to actually being a Muslim. When Obama was seven, he moved back to Hawaii and was raised by his Christian grandparents into adulthood. And how about his mother? Remember that there are two parents in a household. Obama was accurate in saying that he was raised in a non-religious household. There was no lie there.

    Then you go on to say:

    "Yes, you are correct, Obama did in fact attend Islamic classes and he was taught basic Islamic teaching and laws. He also would have a big healthy indoctriation of Pancasila"

    OK, I agree with you here, this is probably true.

    "And I agree with you, Obama should openly acknowledge this."

    Again, we are in complete agreement here. This is perhaps where the Obama camp could do a better job. They may be trying to distance him from his Muslim ties, which I think is a mistake. But, again, Obama himself has always been truthful about his background.

    "Perhaps photographs of Obama as a child dressed in a sarong and songkok performing his Friday prayers at the mosque would be more convincing and perhaps might help to persuade Barack Obama that he should be more forthcoming with the American people concerning his past."

    Actually you do have a good point there. But again, Obama himself has always been forthcoming. Please read both his autobiographies. What I don't like is that you keep trying to picture him as a dishonest man, which he clearly is not.

    You then say:

    "The facts are that Islam is not very tolerant of other religions."

    This is the one point where I strongly disagree with you. Both my parents are Catholic and I was born and raised a Catholic in Sumatra. Sumatra is even more predominantly Muslim than the rest of Indonesia. Yet growing up I received Christian classes at school as well. There were only about 4 Christians in a grade level of more than 200 students, yet they still had the christian religion class. This is the national curriculum throughout Indonesia. It goes without saying that all my neighbors and my friends were Muslims. My basic disagreement with you is that you think all Muslims are bad and intolerant, and that Muslim teaching itself is inherently bad, while I don't think so. You also think that any Muslim ties is negative. I don't. I acknowledge that it is very difficult to change one's perceptions and worldview, so I would not attempt to change yours. I am just asking that you keep an open mind at this stage.

    You again went on to say that:

    "Yes, many Muslims including those in Indonesia do sincerely feel that Obama would be more sympathetic to the struggle of Muslims and their concerns around the world."

    I think we agree here. But the difference is that you are saying that this is a bad thing, while I am saying that it is a good thing. Even if he never went to Indonesia, just the fact that his Kenyan father was born a Muslim, and that his father's relatives are practicing Muslims, would already make him more considerate toward Muslims. Please understand that not all Muslims are terrorists and that in fact we would need the help of Muslims to effectively fight the war on terror around the world.

    Mr. Expat, I sincerely hope that you do not harbor such negative notions about Muslims and that you do not try to feed the negative emotions of Americans. Relations between religions are already difficult to begin with, without anyone feeding into the fire.

    Obama may not be a good candidate for a number of reasons. His experience; his political views, etc. But please do not use his Muslim ties to try to bring him down. There are already a lot of hatred for Muslims in the US, please do not fan the flames further.

    I believe that you are a reasonable person and I have tried to respectfully consider your views. Please consider mine carefully in the same light. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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