Jan 10, 2008

Obama and the Inconvenient Truth

Almost a year ago there was an Indonesian story on Sentator Barack Obama that never really received much notice from the US media. The story was first translated here at "An American Expat in Southeast Asia" in a post entitled Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia - Part 5

While the photo from the story has now made it's way across the web, the actual story and interview hasn't. It's understandable really, much of the Indonesian media reports on Obama have for the most part been ignored by America's main stream media especially stories that focused on Obama's religious upbringing in Indonesia.

The story is an interview with a woman named Tine Hahiyary who was a former teacher and principle of Besuki Primary school, during the time when a young Barry Soetero attended classes there. Revisiting Obama's childhood school the author notices the children in the school yard dressed in Western-Style clothing, but then reminds the reader that on Fridays, all the school childen must wear Muslim clothes and that also includes children who are non-muslim. An inconvenient truth that CNN and the rest of America's main stream media conveniently omitted.

What struck me the most odd from the story was Tine Hahiyary's recollection of a young Obama who was quite religious and actively took part in mengaji classes. A claim that would seem to differ from Obama's much publicized statements that he was not raised in a particularly religious household.

While the word "mengaji" means to either learn or study, however, the actual usage of the word "mengaji" in Indonesian and Malaysian societies means the study of learning to recite the Quran in the Arabic language rather than the native tongue. "Mengagi" is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, "mengaji classes" are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to. To put this is perhaps a Christian context, this is something above and beyond simply enrolling your child in Sunday school classes.

The fact that Obama had attended mengaji classes is well known in Indonesia and has left many there wondering just when Obama is going to come out of the closet.

As I've stated before, the evidence seems to quite clearly show that both Ann Dunham and her husband Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo were in act devout Muslims themselves and they raised their son as such.

In a recent article entitled "Confirmed: Barack Obama practised Islam", Daniel Pipes comes to the conclusion that Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim who rarely or occasionally prayed with his step-father in a mosque." and "that for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father." Needless to say, I will respectfully differ with Daniel Pipes conclusion. So will most Indonesians.


  1. Lao,

    Great article, solid information. The problem is, American's don't care or don't believe it. From the push/exit polls, it looks like this story is only gaining traction with a few older, white, beer drinking democrats.

    I am very interested in reading more of where you left off on the problem of islamic modernity and the answer to solving the extremist threat.

    Bad news today - Fred Thompson dropped out. I'm depressed.

    Best wishes from Texas!

  2. Lao, I believe you are implying that Obama's study of the Qur'an and experiences with Islam make him unfit for election in the U.S.

    However, religious literacy and the particular study of the second biggest religion in the world IN Indonesia (the country with the highest count of Muslims in the world) represents invaluable scholaraly and diplomatic experience that are assets for the job of president.

    You are misinformed about mengaji. The study and recitation of the Qur'an in Arabic by non-Arabs is not only common, but it is the precedent for Muslims all over the world, (including the U.S.). It is not something reserved for "fundamentalists," and I don't think you even realize the connotations of that phrase.

    The Qur'an is traditionally studied in Arabic because meaning and concepts are lost in the translation to other languages. Muslims believe that the Arabic text is an actual revelation from God and therefore should not be tampered with.

    Next time, try writing what you really mean - that you think it is somehow un-American to have anything to do with Islam. RIDICULOUS.

  3. No Marla I am not impling that Barack Obama's study of the Quran and his experiences with Islam make him unfit to be President.

    What makes Barack Obama unfit to be President is his deception and outright lies regarding his Muslim upbringing and heritage.

    It is almost comical that Obama is now recruiting a regiment of jackbooted thugs to dispell all these so-called rumours.

    Surely you are aware that Obama has repeatably denied that he ever was a Muslim despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    And with regards to mengaji, no I am not misinformed. The facts are quite clear - and that is that NO non-practicing Muslim family would elect to send their child to such type of classes.

  4. .
    He was born a Muslim, but he converted young enough to not be considered an apostate. But what about the 3 gay members (one who was a friend of Obama's) of Trinity Church that were executed within 40 days of each other several months ago?
    People are hypnotized with Obamamania and his Obammunism. Good fodder for Obama posters here. Posters about him reflect this puppy dogs, doves and rainbows feeling. The Obama Utopia.

    If Obama can stay pretty clean, do some good things as Senator, and then become Governor of IL, he could be unstoppable in 2012 or 2016. Scary stuff.

    I would dearly love to see a Jewish, African-American woman as POTUS. It's not race or gender that makes it for me though. It's political beliefs that matter, and socialism is bad for everybody, (accept those high in government or high-level academia) especially poor people, of all races. Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist, no thanks.

    His 'Change', 'Hope' and 'Progress' mantras are actually somewhat self-mocking. Making your own Obama posters is totally addicting.
    I laughed so hard I almost had a breakdown. LOL!

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    befriend a bomber

    pushing for change at all costs
    sacrifices must be made

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    only feel and hope

    please force people to change
    change can only be good

    All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. If there is no freedom of speech, then there can be no real freedom.
    Make Some Obama Posters NOW!
    Che Makes Money for Capitalists
    Help Halt Terrorism Now!


  5. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Barry Hussein Obama studied Islam during his formative years..the most important years of a child's burgeoning religious life. He is lying...he IS a Muslim who "converted" to Black Liberation Theology, a left-wing radical form of LT that is violent and compares well to radical Islam with a few less steroids. Lets gather up all the left wing collegiate Obama youth in our Republic (USA) and send them to Bin Laden for beheading. Then they will learn!!! Ha!


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