Well he skipped the Sikh Golden Temple in India, possibly because the headdress requirement would make him look like a Muslim. But President Obama visited the enormous Istiqlal Mosque in Indonesia today, hoping to spread his “Can’t we all just get along” message to the Islamic world.
Here’s the pool report by Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times and Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal:
Motorcade pulled out of shangri-la hotel at 8:10 am. Hundreds of camera toting onlookers lined the streets with armies of motorcycles backed up at the corners.
The Istiqlal mosque is a vast, white concrete structure, reminiscent of the Kennedy Center with a large dome on top.
Potus started in a VIP entrance and went to the large drum used for the call to prayer. Pool waited in a large brick courtyard, used by the faithful during the call to prayer, as Potus got the full tour, including the prayer room and the inside of the dome.
Potus, in a gray suit, and Flotus in a silky flowing chartreuse pant suit and beige head covering stepped onto a pale blue carpet laid out for their arrival with the grand imam, Haji Mustapha Ali Yaqub. Flotus head scarf was adorned with gold beads and a black fringe. She also wore thin lace footie socks — very elegant.
Potus turned to the pool, breaking from his conversation with the Imam, to say the Imam pointed out that there is a Catholic church next door and at Christmas time, the mosque allows parishioners to use the mosque’s parking lot “because they don’t have enough facilities.”
“That’s an example of the kind of cooperation” between religions in Jakarta, Potus said.
Well, let’s not get too carried away. I’m sure Indonesia is a wonderful place, and you can visit to see for yourself if you like. Unless you hold an Israeli passport, in which case, you can’t.
Here’s a photo of Obama and Michelle, who is garbed appropriately but apparently unnecessarily – it’s not required of non-Muslims to wear a headscarf. The adorable little guy is Imam Haji Mustapha Ali Yaqub, chief cleric at the mosque.
Oh well, maybe they weren’t fully aware of his denial of the Holocaust, threats to nuke Israel, oppression of his own people, and so forth.
Here’s some video of Obama making nice during an address at the University of Indonesia, discussing how the two great democracies, the United States and Indonesia, will lead the world to an era of tolerance and greatness, or something, and muttering some words in Indonesian.