Barack Obama

Jan 21st, 2007, in News, by

Senator Barack Obama’s Muslim past in Indonesia is being used against him.

Senator Barack Obama from Illinois is reputed to hold some ambition of contesting the Democratic Party nomination for US president next year. His likely rival for the nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, or her campaign staff, is believed by some to have “leaked” information about Obama having attended a Muslim school in Indonesia, a “madrassa”, when living here as a child, and suggested that he attempted to conceal the fact, that further, he may still be a closet Muslim and sympathetic to the Muslim radical cause.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama.

Right-wing news agencies seized on the news. tribune Fox News morning program “Fox & Friends” on the 19th “broke” the story:

Host Steve Doocy highlighted Obama’s middle name, Hussein, and questioned whether Obama was indoctrinated in extremist Muslim ideology, given that Islamic schools in Indonesia are often believed to be funded by the Saudi Arabian government, or Saudi “charities”, and to teach a Wahhabi system.

In reality it appears that Barack Obama discussed his attendance at a “Muslim” elementary school in Jakarta in his autobiography, “Dreams from My Father”, published in 1995. Page 142 says “Dreams from My Father” :

In Indonesia, I’d spent 2 years at a Muslim school, 2 years at a Catholic school. In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Koranic studies. In the Catholic school, when it came time to pray, I’d pretend to close my eyes, then peek around the room. Nothing happened. No angels descended.

It also appears the reason he attended the “Muslim school” was that his parents could not afford to send him to a “better” school, such as an international one. From his second book, “The Audacity of Hope”, page 274 “The Audacity of Hope” :

Without the money to go to the international school that most expatriate children attended, I went to local Indonesian schools and ran the streets with the children of farmers, servants, tailors, and clerks.

Obama attended this school for two years, between the ages of six and eight, and thereafter went to a Catholic school. His father was a Muslim, from Kenya, but non-practising, likely an agnostic or atheist. In any case Obama had little or no contact with his father after the age of two. His mother was a non-religious woman from Kansas. Barack Obama has been a Christian since the mid 1980’s, belonging to the United Church of Christ, although said to be not a regular attendee at services.


In reality Obama attended not an Islamic school but the state run SDN Menteng 01 in Central Jakarta. On 14th February 2007 the school’s current principal, Hardi Priyono, vehemently denied that any sort of radicalism was likely to have been taught to students in Religious Instruction classes at any time in the school’s history.

Priyono said what was taught at the school was in accordance with the national curriculum and that his school, which he has been in charge of since 1999, was open to students of any religion.

SDN Menteng 1 was built by the Dutch colonial government in 1934 and was accepted into the Indonesian national system in 1961. Since then the school, which occupies 2300m2, has received students from all sorts of backgrounds, Priyono says.

This year we have 474 students and there are Muslims, Christians, and also Hindus. We accept them all here.
(Tahun ini siswa kami sebanyak 474, mereka ada yang beragama Islam, Kristen, dan juga Hindu. Semua kami terima di sini.)

90% were Muslims, he said, but that was only because most Indonesians were Muslim. Non-Muslim students receive religious instruction in their own religion, in a separate classroom.

When Barack Obama attended the school he was registered under the name Barry Soetoro. He left in 1971, in the fifth grade. antara

92 Comments on “Barack Obama”

  1. Stephanie Bravo says:

    i just want to say how much i love barack obama ……when he became president i cryed my eyes out……………he is just amazing how much excitment he is bringing everyone he is really a change for the better

Comment on “Barack Obama”.

RSS feed

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-2023
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact