Reflections on Obama’s Indonesia Odyssey

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With respect to Christian persecution, read about the atrocities in the central Indonesian area called Sulawesi and about the extremist Islamists (tolerated by authorities) called the Laskar Jihad.

The January, 1999, anti-Christian violence resulted in the death of tens of thousands.   Chris Wilson documented the ethnic cleansing in North Maluku in his book Ethno-Religious Violence in Indonesia: From Soil to God. (Oxon: Routledge, 2008).

The Asian Human Rights Commission in a study released last February concluded that there is no religious freedom in Indonesia.  It stated that “There is continuing concern at the distinctions made in legal documents between the six recognized religions of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and the adverse impact on the freedom of thought, conscience and religion of people belonging to minorities, ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Indonesia.”   There are lesser rights for non-recognized religions like Judaism, or for those who accept no religion and are atheists.   A blasphemy law criminalizes speech and other expression by those outside the officially recognized religions.

Read on the internet about the terrible persecution of the Ahmadiyah minority Muslim sect, which is under violent intimidation in both Indonesia and Pakistan.   But of course wars between Muslim sects (such as Sunni versus Shi’a) are a continuous problem in the supposed tolerant world of Islam.

Indonesia does not recognize Israel;  that is, it does not believe that Jews can live in peace in the small historic Jewish homeland, surrounded by hostile Muslim states.   Israelis are not allowed to travel to Indonesia.   I do not believe it has ever objected to any of the numerous statements from radical Islamist groups and states that Israel should be “wiped out”.

And so, to the American president who reserves his criticisms for Israel’s homebuilding around its historic capital of Jerusalem, there is no criticizing Indonesian Muslims, Egyptian Muslims, or Palestinian Muslims.   There is only continued praise for them and insistence that Americans and Muslims share similar values.  There is never a request that Muslims take responsibility for their problems, only an appeasement-like agreement that their problems would disappear if Americans and Israelis would only submit a little more to this tolerant religion of peace.

We should be very suspicious of President Obama and what this all means for the future of our children and grandchildren.   We have been handed a precious legacy of freedom and we should not stand idly by, as our legacy is squandered on the alter of moral relativism and false notions of tolerance.

Howard Rotberg ( is a Canadian author, whose most recent book is TOLERism:  The Ideology Revealed (Mantua Books).

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  • Eric

    Thank you for expressing in rational, balanced manner the profound problems with President Obama's false assertions that Indonesia is a model of tolerance. Facts, those stubborn creatures, continue to challenge the cheerful illusions that Obama's election will magically reconcile the tolerant West and the intolerant, imperialist Islamic voices. Nor can the deep chasm between modern democracies and medieval theocracies be waved away with beautiful words and false hopes.
    Despite our multicultural hopes and humane aspirations, Sharia law continues to be used to justify murder in the name of Allah. When will President Obama acknowledge that we are actually fighting an ideological conflict with jihadist Islamism?

    • marat1

      I never thought I would see the day, especially after 9/11, when a Muslim president would spend so much energy trying to polish the image of Islam, while showing the most despicable hostility towards his own nation and numerous former allies of our nation. How this incompetent ideological fool ever wound up in the White House should be a classic text of how the emotional blindness of Americans at a needy time resulted in attributing aspects of saintliness to this man. In a flash, millions of those who supported him with their time, energy, money were kicking themselves for their stupidity at being manipulated. This is the first sense I have had as an American that I simply "have no government" right now. Islam is in DIRECT confrontation with our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Death is the cure of Sharia law for those Muslims who convert to another religion; or choose of their own free will to even LEAVE Islam. And the whacky "clerics" of this bogus "faith" are endorsed by Islam to essentially act as Mafia bosses–they can and regularly DO call for the death of anyone who is deemed to be "A Threat To Islam." Which is anyone with too strong a criticism. The U.S. should rescind the right of Islam to receive tax-free institutional status, as it is a violent and supremacist ideology. Muslim immigration should be suspended until such time that certain reforms are made by Islamic regimes, thus putting pressure on the elite of these societies who love sending their children to American universities. While Israel is forced to be subjected to Islamic propaganda of being some kind of "apartheid" nation, TRUE apartheid (both political and sexual) exists in a slew of Islamic lands. Jews are barred from even entering Saudi Arabia, Abu Dubai. An Egyptian man and his entire family were recently sentenced to death in Egypt because he converted to Christianity. The Egyptian courts had forbid him the right to convert. THIS is the face of Islam that YOU LOVE, Obama. Ironically, it is MUSLIMS themselves who are the major victims of their tribe, with way in excess of 16,000 people murdered by Islamic Terror since 9/11 alone. Turn to any news source tomorrow or the day after and you can get a new, improved body count. Where is John Bolton when we need him????????????????????????????????????

  • Chezwick_Mac

    "When will President Obama acknowledge that we are actually fighting an ideological conflict with jihadist Islamism?"

    "Jihadist Islamism?"

    In an otherwise excellent post, you stumbled at the end in your unwillingness to properly identify the enemy, resorting to obfuscatory terminology in order to avoid stating the obvious. "Islamism" is a word invented to denote a non-existent distinction between the religious and the political in Islam. "Jihadist" is a follower of the dictates of the faith.

    We can distinguish between Muslims as people and Islam as a belief system, but qualifiers such as "Islamism", "Jihadist Islamism", "Islamo-fascism" etc, are entirely superfluous. Our "ideological conflict" is with Islam, pure and simple. If only the world understood.

    • stephencuz

      Spot on again Chez. Words matter. We must be able to name our enemy before we can fight it. Our issue is with ISLAM. A simple comparison can show it is in direct opposition to the Constitution of the U.S. and is therefore an enemy. Can we trade with Islamic countries? Sure. Business is business. Can we live in peace with them? Perhaps at a distance. Together under one roof? When they acknowledge our Constitution takes precedence over their Sharia (but then, this would make them a non-Muslim). Talking as if we cannot tell the difference between our values and those of the Islamic world is insulting. Does he think we won't see through his cheap speech? What a Dolt!

    • hijinx60

      Chezwick_Mac: This is a fact that I have been declaring for quite some time, yet people tend to ignore. I hope that you have better luck at convincing others. Spot on.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Representative Joe Wilson will go down in history for letting the honesty of his emotions properly peg Obama, shouting out to outrageous Obama, "You lie," and Obama will go down in history as "The Liar President" bringing shame on America in perpetuity.

  • Ret. Marine

    To Eric; “when will this president acknowledge that we are actually fighting an ideological conflict with jihadist islamism” Surely you jest Sir, he is as pure of an ideologue as the snow is white. He a mental midget with a personal dawah bend upon his personal experiences with this cult, its that simple. Do we need yet anther reason to believe why this co-called president is not a muslim, he was indoctrinated, learned in the ways of sharia, and apparently needs to continue on his personal path to salvation, collectively that is.
    You sir calling this fraud a president diminishes the term and respect commanded for such a position, not that I will condemn you for it, but it speaks volumes as to the degree in which this nation was sucker punched in the gut with this pathetic excuse call a president. He is no such thing. I believe him to be just another version of the islamic term for a liar in the cause of allah. Comparing this Nation to that of an ancient barbaric cult has no comparison. Yet at the same time the words traitor comes to mind.

  • DogWithoutSlippers

    His roots are holding him down!

  • Cuban Refugee

    The most important task for the recently reconvened House of Representatives would be to start impeachment proceedings post haste. The republic has suffered for too long with the antics of the Community Organizer in Chief and his retinue of radicals. It has become obvious, even to the most blind among us, that Obama is a Muslim sympathizer who is destroying our country from within. Let's use the famous pooper scooper, and get him the hell out!

  • RobbinsMitchell

    "Speak softly and carry a big stick"

    ~Theodore Roosvelt~

    "Shuck jively and carry a pickaninny dick"

    ~Barokeydoke Hubris Obozo~

  • bobbie

    message was great -we should be able to post it without advertisment inserted from Front Page Magazine-therefore i did not post it to facebook

  • SeaMystic

    The "Misplaced Tolerance" shown by many Americans as well as Democratic societies, is akin to Individuals bending over and accepting having IT shoved up thier Rectum Dry. Obviously there are some that enjoy it, but,

  • Piera Prister

    Mr. Rotberg,
    Watching the American First Lady wrapped up in a veil is really disturbing and disappointing to me.Just yesterday, I was praising her for her modern and outgoing look resembling a wonder woman who is able to punch a potential aggressor in the face. But now I take back all my admiration. That veil hides the women submission in those countries dominated by the shariah law. I would never visit that apartheid country ! Never!

  • Wesley69

    Obama knew full well about Indonesia's intolerance of religions other than Islam. This visit as well as his stop in India, are continuations of his Cairo Policy, to appease Muslims around the world. I believe, if it meant allowing sharia here in communities which ask for it, he would go along with it. That is why we must add to the Constitution an amendment that will forbid physical harm to an individual because of a religion's practices and beliefs.

  • Gil Solnin

    Obama's criticism of Israel building in existing Jewish neighborhoods in its capital in the anti-Israeli Indonesia was a deplorable act by a U.S. President against a staunch ally of the United States. The fact that the statement was made and made in Indonesia confirms malicious intent. Of all of the numerous anti-Israel acts committed by this President I believe this was the worst because of what was said and where it was said. Obama's actions only compromise any chance of a credible peace negotation any time in the future.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      While I agree with you on Obama’s vilification of Israel while in Indonesia an Islamic country was in very bad taste and also profoundly revealing, with respect to credible peace negotiations taking place between Israel and its Muhammadan foes, that’s impossible as the jihad being waged against Israel by Dar al Islam through their proxies the so-called Palestinians is permanent. In other words, as long as Israel exists according to Islam, there can be no peace. Hence, there is no such thing as credible peace negotiations between Israel and Muhammadans.

  • PAthena

    Note that Indonesia under Dutch rule for hundreds of years was religiously tolerant, for the Dutch did not force them to become Christians. The rulers of Indonesia since they became independent of the Netherlands is one of intolerance, against not only those of other religions but of those of mixed ancestry (Dutch-Indonesian) whom they have evicted from Indonesia.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Well one thing you should understand is Islam is not a religion. Instead, it masquerades as being a religion only in order to subjugate and subsume the societies it targets.

  • badaboo

    Tolerance is a relative term when applied to ANY Arab OR Muslim nation. With that in mind , Obama is no better or worse than BOTH Bush Sr./Jr. Clinton , or Reagan . Oh wait , our "allies " Jordan , Saudi Arabia , Pakistan , Yemen …are "tolerant " ??
    Any American President would have or should have madethat "odessy " …why ? ..because Japan , Korea , and even Indonesia , all have China on their mind .

  • badaboo

    BTW , Andres de Alamaya , Joe Wilson IS and will always be a contemptable IDIOT , for his outburst .

  • simon

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  • Deendid

    The republic has suffered for too long with the antics of the Community Organizer in Chief and his retinue of radicals. It has become obvious, even to the most blind among us, that Obama is a Muslim sympathizer who is destroying our country from within. Let's use the famous pooper scooper, and get him the hell out! Hockey, baseball and concert ticket broker

  • marstob

    Nov. 2010 article distinctly addressed the obvious – where Obama was concerned. We are now half way through the year 2014 and, if only, the powerful personages could have – would have changed the tenor of the Obama administration. Perhaps, the current mideast warfare and horrendous deaths would not have happened. Obama’s mesmerizing spelling binding verbosity at the onset of his campaign imho was similar to Germany’s Dictator of the 1930’s. Did anyone question who funded his campaigns ? Obama promised to change America and we now see the results. It is appalling.