Feb 19, 2008

Obama On Indonesian Television - Part 1

This is the beginning of a two part series here at "An American Expat in Southeast Asia" entitled "Obama on Indonesian Television". The videos below are from DetikTV in Jakarta who ran a small series in February 2008 entitled tracking Barack Obama in Indonesia. The information you will find in the videos below confirms and substantiates much of what we originally translated and reported in our series of posts on "Obama in Indonesia" back in January of 2007.

The picture above is seen in the following video, showing a young Barry Soetoro (Barack Hussein Obama) posing with his mother, Ann, half sister, Maya, and maternal grandfather Stanley Dunham in Hawaii in the early 1970s after the family returned from Indonesia. Ann Dunham would return to Indonesia and shortly after this picture was taken, Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo would later divorce Ann and then remarry, fathering another two children.

Right click to open in a new window:

*Video* Tracking Barack Obama: From Menteng to Dempo

In the next video below, a photo is shown of a young Barack Obama and his father Hussein Obama, a Muslim from Kenya and then his mother and stepfather Lolo Soetoro.

Referring to a young Barack Obama, the reporter states in Indonesian "juga hidup tengah-tengah orang muslim" (he lived his life in the middle of Muslims) - an interesting choice of words to use which can have an ambiguous meaning depending on how exactly it is translated. Highlighting the United States presidential campaign, the reporter states that Obama's enemies have been making a political issue out of Obama's "life among the Muslims". The reporter then states, "Barry yang punya wajah lucu sering dimainkan teman-teman pernah dipakaikan sarong meski tak pernah ikut solat" (Barry had a funny face and his friends made fun of him by putting a sarong on him even though he didn't pray). The emphasis here is that even though Barry was a Muslim and was in the mosque and was wearing Islamic clothes, that he was only "playing" and not really "praying". I suppose you can interpret that any way you wish.

In the second part of the video, Zulfan Adi, a former neighborhood playmate of Obama's who has been cited in numerous news reports claiming that Obama regularly attended Friday prayers with his stepfather Lolo Soetoro points out the "Musholla Al-Rahman" (Al-Rahman Prayer Room) to the reporter where he then goes out of his way to explain that Obama wasn't "praying" in the prayer room, he only "playing". That Zulfan Adi found it necessary to use and emphasize the English word "praying" in the Indonesian language report leads us to the self-evident conclusion that this part of the report if not all of it was simply staged for foreign consumption.

Right click to open in a new window:

*Video* The Prayer Room Where Obama Played

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Related Posts

Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia

Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia - Part 2

Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia - Part 3


  1. What bothers me is the big deal Republican supporters have made of Obama's Indonesian (and muslim past).

    It shows a terrible narrow mindedness that will ultimately lose them the next election.

    Americans are intelligent enough to understand that the ten year old step son of a practicing muslim living in a muslim country will follow his step father to the mosque.

    For heavens sake, Obama was in Indonesia from age 6 - 10! How petty can you get? Has anyone asked you to account for what you did from age 6 - 10?

    I come from a nation where millions of Muslims have converted to Christianity. My grandfather was not a Christian, but my dad converted to Christianity. If my dad was American born, would that disqualify him from political office?

    Please stop it. The subtle message you are putting across is:

    1. A muslim (no matter how moderate) is unelectable in America.
    2. All Christian converts from Islam are suspect.

  2. Without giving a personal info about yourself, what is the country where millions of muslims have converted to christianity?

  3. Duncan,

    Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan - to name a few.

    The West is so caught up (in fear of) Islam that it has totally neglected the rise of Christianity in:

    1. Latin America.
    2. Africa.
    3. China.
    4. Egypt.
    5. Indonesia (the worlds most populous Islamic nation, this is a story on its own).

    (Please read the next Christendom by Philip Jenkins).

    In 1900 there were 9 million christians in sub-saharan Africa. Today, they are about 400 million. Most of the conversion took place after colonial (french and british) rule. Many of the converts were drawn from Muslim communities.

    When I hear all the hullabaloo about Obama's father being a muslim, it becomes clear that most Americans do not understand Africa, much less Kenya. To start with, Muslims are a negligible segment of Kenyan society.

    Secondly, some members of Obama's family in Kenya are Christians. This what his uncle Said said about the kenyan crisis early this year:

    Here there is no trouble, we are all going to CHURCH together. The worst of the violence is in the towns.

    As an African, I can tell you that the common Western perception of African muslims as being blood thirsty jihadists is flat out wrong. Many are moderate and are quarter way towards Christianity.

    This is why Americans should be careful about the way they talk about muslims. There is a deep yearning in the Muslim community for something deeper than what Osama bin Laden has to offer.

    Muslims know that the Iranian State is morally bankrupt. They know that the Taliban is devlish, they hate Saudi opression.

    This is exactly why South Korean (and soon Chinese) missionaries are active in Syria, Jordan, Turkey and other countries in the Muslim world.

  4. Whose care his past or his religions moeslim or hindus whose care American goes once a years to the Churchs, most importance is "Can he proved What He Said!"
    Can he take responsible for any what he promissed.
    Kinds of guys is much on thee planet SBY, Ahmadinejad, and soos and soon. Presty good in talk and WANA BE BE AN HOLLYWOODS STARS than wana be a leaders. all just fxxx Simulacra.
    Kennedy is kennedy, Luther is Luther. don't ever be someone else, I hate that reeacting Actors. it's politics more serious than to be movie stars.
    MR. Beachbums

  5. "Can he take responsible for any what he promised."

    Besides HOPE and CHANGE you mean?

  6. I as a black muslim in the US find it disgusting that they are trying to dig this up about him. Even if he went to a mosque and prayed five times a day, fasted ramadan and all the other things involved, that does not disqualify him as a good american, and certainly not as president. To top it off, he says he wasnt/isn't muslim leave him alone. I know plenty of people born into the religion who has fell off and left it...just like there are many christians including myself who left christianity and became muslim.. should people be saying about me.. she used to be an achelyte.. and she took communion, she can't be trusted...

  7. "I as a black muslim in the US find it disgusting that they are trying to dig this up about him. Even if he went to a mosque and prayed five times a day, fasted ramadan and all the other things involved, that does not disqualify him as a good american, and certainly not as president..."

    Nobody ever said it did and you won't find anywhere on this blog where I suggested such a thing.

    "To top it off, he says he wasnt/isn't muslim leave him alone..."

    From what I said in another post:

    'Despite what they say though, the reality is that for Obama and many of his supporters the veracity of the rumors is not really an issue, what is an issue is the audacity of their opponents to dare tread into what they consider to be an illegitimate area of inquiry. We've all heard this same story before with Bill Clinton who never was able to wrap his head around the fact that it was his character that was called into question rather than his conduct.'

    Barack Obama has not been honest and forthright with the American people, and that is what I find disturbing. Why should I or anyone else be compelled to just accept what he says and then "leave him alone"?

    The day when Barack Obama "comes out of the closet" and says "Yes I was born a Muslim and practiced Islam in my childhood, but later converted to Christianity", then I will salute him for his candor and honesty.

    In any event, I can assure you that America is in for an October surprise regarding Obama and at that time Obama will find himself compelled to retract what he said regarding his so-called non-religious upbringing in Indonesia. ;-)

    At the end of the day, I still wouldn't vote for him though, because he represents a danger to our nation during a time when we are at war and because I don't believe in his Marxist politics. Simple as that.

  8. To Lao, I understand that you personally aren't saying he shouldn't be in office because of his background, but believe me there are plenty who are and in my opinion this article is trying to hint at that. That being said... even if he is not being completely forthright about how Islamic his upbringing was or wasn't can you blame him. Not the way that so many people respond to the idea of him even being raised in an Islamic background. They think he is some how some closet radical waiting to take over the country and force sharia on everyone. You can't help what you are born as, you can't help being dragged to a masjid at 10 just as i couldn't help being dragged to church every sunday at 10. If he hasn't been "Muslim" since early childhood some would argue that he wasn't because he wasn't of mature age. I know plenty of people who were born to one or more muslim parents, played maybe even prayed in the masjid as a kid however never identified as being a Muslim because as soon as they were old enough to understand what they were doing they didn't feel it.. How many christians do you know like that i know many.

  9. "That being said... even if he is not being completely forthright about how Islamic his upbringing was or wasn't can you blame him."

    I totally understand why he wants to avoid the subject, but he lies about it and by doing so he is dishonest to the American people.

    He admitted his drug use as a teenager and as much I might dislike that, I can at least appreciate his honesty on the matter. He needs to do the same thing with regards to his religious upbringing. Be honest about it.

    The truth comes out, it always does and when it comes out on Obama (which it will) he will have to pay the price. Maybe at that time he will regret not being honest to begin with.

    I strongly believe that virtue is a quality we should expect of our elected leaders don't you?

  10. The Jakarta Post had a big editorial today, suggesting that Obama was Indonesia's "best hope".

    The American media is greatly downplaying Obama's Muslim past.

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of Blog readers. At least on the Blogosphere we can get the truth.

    I linked to this article at

  11. "The American media is greatly downplaying Obama's Muslim past."

    First of all Eric you need to understand that much of America's main stream media strongly supports the far left in the United States.

    Secondly, this is an issue related to Obama's religious upbringing which in itself presents a dilemma, not only for the main stream media but for many Americans themselves.

    As I pointed out above, there are many who simply will dismiss any allegations here regardless of their veracity as lies, by claiming that they intrude upon an "illegitimate area of inquiry". But once confronted with the truth, you will notice many of the responses from leftists here slowly change from total disbelief to "Ok so what if he was a Muslim, whats the big deal?" ie. the "illegitimate area of inquiry".

    And when all else fails, the race card will be played. There will be violent allegations of hateful bigotry and racism. Read through some of the responses here and you will see what I mean.


  12. Hi Lao,

    It's me again. I think we've made each other's position on this issue clear. I'm not sure there's anything else to discuss.

    So you said that you don't support Obama because of his "Marxist's policies". OK, that's fine. So why don't you just focus on those policies instead of worrying about every minutae about what he did as a 10 year old?

    You have repeatedly pointed out that your problem with him was that we wasn't completely forthright about whether he was raised a Muslim, and that he converted to Christianity. You will only be satisfied if he says categorically: "Yes I was born a Muslim and practiced Islam in my childhood".

    Let's look at what he actually did say about himself:

    - His father (Barack Sr.) was born a Muslim, but was in practice an Atheist. He only saw his father once in his life, and was never raised by him.
    - His mother(Ann) was born a Christian, but was in practice an Atheist.
    - His stepfather (who divorced his mother when he was 10) was born a Muslim but was not religious (mixing Muslim beliefs with Javanese beliefs)
    - At age 6 to 8 he went to a Catholic school in Indonesia
    - At age 8 to 10 he went to a public school in Indonesia (not a muslim school)
    - He had Muslim friends as a 9 year old and sometimes wears sarongs and played in Mosques.
    - at age ten he returned to Hawaii and was raised by his grandparents, both Christians. He himself was never religious.
    - After graduating from Harvard, in his mid twenties, he was baptized and became a practicing Christian and joined the Trinity United Church of Christ.

    I don't understand which part of the narrative above that you object to and think of as dishonest. He cannot say that he was born a Muslim because he was not. He could not say that he practiced Islam as a kid because he did not.

    I also don't understand why you would doubt it when some of his childhood friends say that he "played" instead of "prayed" in the Mosque. You can't accept or reject evidence based on whether or not it supports your conclusions.

    If it's his honesty that you're so worried about, why don't you focus on the things he did as an adult, things that he should be fully responsible for. For example, you may raise questions about his relationship with Rezko; to ask how honest he was about that.

    This childhood non-issue should not be a basis of whether or not you would vote for him. There are other much more important issues to consider.

    By the way, did you read his book "Dreams from My Father"?


  13. "This childhood non-issue should not be a basis of whether or not you would vote for him. There are other much more important issues to consider."

    As I have stated above Winang, honesty is an issue and it will be an issue that will ultimately decide the US general election.

    These are not smears, they are facts.

    In the end though Obama and his supporters will accuse the voters of bigotry and racism for his failure to win.


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