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AP: Muslim students protest in Jakarta against Barack Obama’s first Indonesian visit as president


Muslim students protest in Jakarta against Barack Obama’s first Indonesian visit as president

By Associated Press

March 5, 2010 | 4:53 a.m.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Scores of Islamic students staged protests outside Jakarta’s parliament and in at least three other major Indonesian cities on Friday against President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to this predominantly Muslim country.

The students carried banners branding Obama as an enemy of Islam and an imperialist in downtown Jakarta as well as in the provincial capitals Padang, Yogyakarta and Surabaya.

They also threw shoes at large pictures of Obama’s head. An Iraqi journalist was sentenced to a year in prison for throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in 2008.

Protest organizer Ahmad Irhamul Fikri, spokesman for the Coordinating Board for Campus Proselytizing Institute, said bigger rallies will be staged next Friday in more Indonesian cities ahead of Obama’s March 20-22 visit.

Such demonstrations of hostility toward Obama are rare in Indonesia, where he enjoys widespread popularity because he spend part of his childhood in Jakarta while his mother was married to his Indonesian stepfather.

Local government officials allowed business people to erect a statue of a 10-year-old Obama in a Jakarta park in December. But it was shifted last month to a nearby elementary school that he attended after more than 50,000 people supported a Facebook campaign against it and court action was threatened.

Obama is expected to sign the statue’s pedestal while in Jakarta.

Source: Associated Press (via: Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Sakina

    March 5, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    I don’t understand. Why? How is that they are this impassioned about the man?

    It almost seems like a farce; a publicity stunt? Attention seeking? Hate-orade drinkers?

    Or, what is it that I’m missing?

  2. Ibn Mikada

    March 7, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

    American foreign policy in the last year can be briefly described in two words: fighting Muslims. It’s not his invention, but he has done little if nothing to change it. Worse, he’s using his aggressive foreign policy to soften the criticism levelled against him with regards to moves he’s making on domestic issues. I hope that Indonesians are not the only ones who saw through his empty rhetoric of change and reconciliation.



    • Sakina

      March 7, 2010 at 4:53 PM

      Wa Alaykum Asalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatahu.

      I see your point; well, somewhat.

      The response still seems a bit overboard from my perspective. Perhaps because Obama has personal/childhood ties there, they feel they have to make a concerted, MAMMOTH effort to show their dislike, simply because of that fact.

      And you are so right in saying “it is not his invention”. I’d hate to be burned at the stake for the crimes of my predecessors; for the balls they have already set into motion before my time. What an injustice that would be.

      Peace be Upon You,

      • suhail

        March 8, 2010 at 10:16 AM

        Yeah Cheney called Obama and ordered him to put more forces on ground in Afghanistan. I think Bush called and ordered Obama to increase the drone attacks in Pakistan too. I think somebody from the Bush administration kept his lip sealed when Israel was bombing Gaza and killing muslims left and right. Either you are living in a cuckoo land or still hung up with Obama talks during his campaign.

        More power to the Indonesian youth on seeing the farce behind Obama’s face. And anyways even if Obama wants to change something does he even have the power to do it.

        • Sakina

          March 25, 2010 at 10:25 AM

          Asalaamu Alaykum,
          No, brother, I believe there is a better way to convey our disapproval of a person’s actions. Whether they be a person off the street or a person in high authority, Muslims are to be courteous, if not respectful, and dignified.

          Throwing shoes at a poster with Obama’s face on it? What does this accomplish my brother? Would The Prophet had ordered the sahaba to paint a picture of Abu Lahab and then order people to throw shoes at it? We all know the answer…

          This whole style of protesting is counter-productive, as is your sarcasm directed at me (as seen in this sentence, “Either you are living in a cuckoo land…”). It does nothing to change the current state of affairs.

          With Courtesy, Your Sister in Islam,

  3. Stinger

    March 7, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    I also think we need to have more intellectually oriented ways of expressing our views. Even if they did want to have a demonstration it should have been kept more civil. Yet I can understand where the frustration is coming from, there’s still a long way to go before policies are correctly implemented.

  4. Kashif

    March 7, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    This is good not bad news. Indonesia should allow protests against it’s own government and policies as well. Dissent through peaceful protests should not be limited in anyway.

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