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

Last updated: 29 October, 2010
Washington, Oct 29, (PTI): 13:32 IST

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 today.

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.

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