After Humayun tomb, Obama to visit Indonesia`s largest mosque

US Prez would visit the Istiqlal mosque in Indonesia, besides paying a visit to the great Buddha statue in Japan`s Yokohama during his Asia trip next month.

Updated: Oct 29, 2010, 14:21 PM IST

Washington: After visiting the historic
Humayun tomb in New Delhi, US President Barack Obama would
visit the Istiqlal mosque in Indonesia, besides paying a visit
to the great Buddha statue in Japan`s Yokohama during his Asia
trip next month, the White House said on Friday.

Obama will pay a visit to Muslim-majority Indonesia`s
largest mosque Istiqlal in Jakarta, Deputy National Security
Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.
Soon after visiting the mosque in world`s largest
Muslim-majority country, Obama will deliver a speech from a
different site, Rhodes said, adding the President would be
travelling to Indonesia from November 9, after his India trip
from November 6 to 9.

"In that speech he`ll have a chance talk about the
partnership that we`re building with Indonesia, but also to
talk about some of the themes of democracy and development and
our outreach to Muslim communities around the world, while
also speaking of Indonesia’s pluralism and tolerance as well,"
he said.

Rhodes said the visit is standard protocol for Obama,
who visited the famed Blue Mosque while on a visit to Turkey
shortly after his inauguration.

"When he visited Muslim-majority countries as
president, he has often visited the most prominent mosques,"
he said.

"I think that Indonesia, as the world`s largest
Muslim-majority country, sets a very positive example in terms
of both its close relationship with the United States, in
terms of its religious diversity and in terms of its
democracy, but in a Muslim-majority context," he said.

"So in many respects, Indonesia sets a very positive
example to the world, not simply the Muslim world but to the
world more broadly. And so visiting this mosque and in his
speech, I think he`ll have the opportunity to underscore the
themes that he`s made in terms of outreach to Muslim
communities around the world, but also he`ll be able to speak
to Indonesia`s rise as a democracy, Indonesia`s rise as an
emerging economy, and the pluralism that its story represents
similar to India?s, in that respect," Rhodes said.

From Indonesia, Obama would travel to South Korea to
attend the G-20 Summit and then reach Yokohama in Japan to
attend the APEC meeting on November 13.

"The President will pay a visit to the great Buddha
statue that is nearby in Yokohama. This is one of the marvels
of Japanese culture, and the President had visited this
particular Buddha statue as a child actually when he visited
Japan, so he is very much looking forward to this opportunity
to pay a return visit," Rhodes said.

A day earlier, Rhodes had announced that Obama and the
First Lady would be visiting the 450-year-old Humayun`s tomb
which is one of the great cultural marvels in India.

"The President felt it was important, given the rich
civilization that India has, to pay tribute to that through
this stop," he said.

PTI