Help U.S. Media set the record straight on Barack Obama's Indonesian school

Perspektif Online
26 January 2007

Presidential candidate Barack Obama went to public and secular school at Cikini, but he was accused by Fox News and Insight magazine (subsidiary of the the Washington Times, not the Washington Post) of having gone to a 'madrassa' (meaning madrasah) teaching extreme beliefs. Very few madrasahs actually are hard-liners, but US media like to paint a distorted picture of Indonesia as a terrorist-tolerating country.

We can help Obama set the record straight by listing names of SDN 1 Menteng alumni and testimony to deny ridiculous attacks by conservative US media. Barack Obama spent four years in Indonesia. Debunking the attacks on Obama will also debunk character assasination of Indonesia as terrorist country. Please forward this message to The US Ambassador in Jakarta. He and the State Department should make a non-partisan statement of clarification.

Please have the World Bank staff in Jakarta tell friend-of-Indonesia Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President to do something nice about Indonesia. We are currently fighting terrorists in Poso and we succeedeed in Bali.

Help our image please. Be fair to Obama although he is a Democrat. Republicans will gain by giving non-partisan support. We are neutral in the US Presidential elections. But we are not neutral in choosing between the truth and slander.

More details based on media reports

ObamaThe contention that Obama was educated at a radical Muslim madrassa surfaced on the Web site of the conservative Insight magazine the day after Obama announced he was jumping into the 2008 presidential race. Conservative Internet blogs and the Fox News Channel picked up the story and spread the charges just as his candidacy was getting off the ground.

Obama on Wednesday called the reports "scurrilous," and his communications director e-mailed reporters a lengthy memo attempting to set the record straight. Obama's mother, divorced from Obama's father, married a man from Indonesia named Lolo Soetoro, and the family relocated to the country from 1967-71.

Obama went to a Catholic school then transferred to SDN Menteng 1 the elite, secular elementary school at the center of the controversy. The school is public but is very competitive and has exceptionally high standards. It is located in Menteng, top elite neighborhood and one of the most affluent parts of Jakarta, The school attracts mostly middle- to upper-class students, including Suharto's grandchildren who are hardly Muslim extremists. Did ex-president Megawati also go to school there, or the one next door? You can tell us.

Better still, you can help us list known alumni of SDN 1 Cikini, including yourself if you are one. We will let CNN or AP quote the list.


are you in this picture?

AP further reports: Those tied to the school say they are proud to have had a student like Obama, and hope that, if he is elected president, his ties to Indonesia will broaden his world perspective and his views on religion. Sri Murtiningsih, who retired from Menteng 1 recently after 39 years of teaching, said she has vivid memories of the left-handed boy who followed a standard curriculum of math, writing, and language, together with twice-weekly religious affairs classes and sports.

Murtiningsih said neighbors ran to her house after seeing a television report about his intention to run for president.

"They were yelling, 'Your old student is going to take Bush's job!'" she said. "Tears filled my eyes."

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  1. From Matt Keegan on 27 January 2007 16:29:14 WIB
    Best wishes with getting the word out. I am a fan of Fox News, but if they got something wrong then it needs to be repeated.

    Americans need to hear from Muslims who are against violence as the voices of the peacemakers seem to be getting drowned out by the murderers and suicide bombers. Your site seems sensible and I personally do not think Indonesia is a terrorist state.
  2. From dmitri on 29 January 2007 09:08:05 WIB
    great posting WW! will do my small contribution on my own blogsites.

    Obama himself would've had a major impact going to such school at a time when communism and extremism was being supressed by the old [then freshly new] Soeharto regime. it says a lot about a person who gets to travel and adapt from such a young age.
  3. From Busway on 29 January 2007 09:13:39 WIB
    Saya akan nulis dengan bahasa Indonesia, bahasa ibuku, karena aku bangga sebagai bangsa Indonesia yang mayoritas muslim lho katanya.
    Saya tidak heran kalau pak Obama yang muslim itu muncul dan mendapat penolakan di AS yang katanya negara demokrasi terkemuka di dunia.
    Upaya untuk mengkerdilkan Islam memang sudah dilakukan sejak Nabi Muhammad Salallahualaihi Wasalam dinobatkan sebagai Rasul. Sebelumnya, hal itu tidak pernah terjadi bahkan mereka sudah lama nanti-nantikan kedatangan Rasul yang bernama Muhammad (karena hal ini juga tertulis di Al Kitab). Hanya saja pada saat dia hadir ternyata bukan dari golongan mereka, mereka menjadi benci. Semuanya jadi salah.
    Tidak mudah untuk memberikan pengertian bahwa Islam itu pembawa kedamaian dllnya kalau sejak awal sudah punya rasa antipati.
    Kalaupun pak Obama menang, akan sangat banyak tantangan yang akan beliau hadapi, yang secara individu pasti beliau siap2 saja untuk menghadapinya, tetapi saya kurang yakin kalau partai pendukungnya akan siap juga untuk menghadapi serangan2 dari lawan2 politiknya.
    Apapun yang terjadi, tentunya saya sangat mendukung pak Obama untuk menjadi Presiden AS.
  4. From Tommy on 29 January 2007 13:10:14 WIB
    Sudahlah buat apa dipusingkan, ingat saja peribahasa :
    walau anjing menggonggong dan serigala (fox news) melonglong, kalifah tetap berlalu.
    Kebenaran tidak akan pudar hanya karena omongan cablak, fitnah keji dan pikiran dangkal.
  5. From Guccioni on 29 January 2007 16:03:50 WIB
    Fox ,Bush and Neocons are lying cockroaches who make their living out of lies. Ask Wolfowitz to help...are you kidding sir? In animal kingdom wolves are friend of foxes.
  6. From raiguru on 29 January 2007 16:44:18 WIB
    Seperti komentar No #3Busway sayapun akan menulis mengunakan bahasa indonesia karna saya memang ga bisa bahasa inggris,
    Banyak komentar di atas yang menulis bahwa mereka mendukung Barrack untuk menjadi president USA, karna dia penah tinggaldan sekolah madrasah di indonesia, yang mungkin nantinya USA akan diharapkan sedikit berbaik hati sama indonesia,
    tetapi yang saya mau utarakan di sini yaitu sikap warga amerika yang curiga terhadap muslim, mereka tidak akan setuju memiliki President muslim ataupun bekas muslim, dan menurut saya itu wajar karna mayoritas penduduknya beragama non muslim,..
    seperti akan banyak terjadi penolakan di indonesia bila preidennya non muslim
  7. From Tommy on 29 January 2007 23:41:35 WIB
    1. Sekedar komentar untuk raiguru : saya tidak mendukung siapapun menjadi presiden amerika, alasannya karena saya tidak berharap apapun dari amerika. Buat saya, sikap berharap-harap mendapat sesuatu dari amerika, adalah sikap pengemis yang tak punya harga diri.

    2. komentar untuk busway : sekedar info, saya membaca dari sebuah harian, obama dulu memang muslim, tapi kemudian murtad, dan sekarang menjadi penganut kristen yg taat.

    3. Memangnya kalau orang sekolah di madrasah, lalu mau diberi stigma teroris ? persetan fox news, Hidup madrasah.
    Hidup madrasah. Hidup madrasah. Ayo kita sekolah yuk ke madrasah, asyik lhoo..., ilmunya tidak dangkal, sebab belajar dunia dan akhirat.
  8. From wimar on 30 January 2007 00:02:50 WIB
    Maaf, tulisan ini tidak mempermasalahkan madrasah atau kaum Muslim, tapi menyorot kesalahan lapor dari FoxNews yang kemudian disangkal oleh sebagian besar media Amerika Serikat. CNN sengaja kirim crew liputan untuk membantah cerita FoxNews. Kita tidak perlu mengomel lagi, nanti malah ketahuan tidak mengerti. Terjemahkan dulu artikel ini dengan baik.

    Pemerintah AS sekarang banyak terpengaruh sentimen isolasi yang mengacu pada agama. Demi citra Islam, kita dukung pembela pluralitas agama di negara manapun. Picik rasanya memusuhi seluruh negara yang isinya macam-macam.

    Tidak ada keharusan dukung Obama kalau tidak mengerti politik AS. Dia tidak minta dukungan kita. Dia orang AS, Katolik (bukan Islam) tapi dia akan bela Indonesia karena pernah tinggal di Indonesia dan lebih mengerti orang Islam dan orang Indonesia.

    Kalau kita menunjukkan sikap fanatik agama, hasilnya malah lebih mundur karena tidak akan dihargai.
  9. From Ucup on 30 January 2007 12:10:36 WIB
    Guccioni bilang " in animal kingdom wolves are friends of foxes". Gw bilang kalo mo lebih tepat " in kingdom of beast, wolves are friends of foxes". Emang bener loh, geng warmongers amrik itu macam binatang buas. Orang Asia, arab ato muslim dianggap subhuman, boleh di bom atom ,dibantai setiap saat.
  10. From Satya on 30 January 2007 18:04:34 WIB
    so, does anybody has any personal info about the school in question? all i know is that SDN 1 simply means "state elementary school number one" a very secular public school and is located in an elite sophisticated neighborhood.

    far from any school for extremists, and there are certainly no bullies bringin their dad's NRA approved machine guns to school (oops, probably that's the problem, no gun-toting right-wingers in that secular school).
  11. From iburp on 30 January 2007 23:57:21 WIB
    americans are not all bright, they do screw things up... sometimes in a big scale too! told yaa.... :p
  12. From anton on 01 February 2007 15:31:10 WIB
    obama itu dulu juga sempet dagang koran, ibunya bule tapi bapaknya anggota TNI pensiunan, tante saya yang cerita....dia tinggal di gang kumuh deket kawasan Menteng..ibunya dulu sering dagang pakaian di antara ibu-ibu arisan, gossipnya dia dulu sebelum kawin ama suaminya yang sekarang, dia kawin ma orang nigeria...tante saya sering ngasih bolu kukus ke obama. juga obama suka banget ma gado-gado, dia katanya sering miara ayam jago di belakang rumah.
    Waktu kecil obama pernah nangis kepalanya di jitak sama si amat anaknya tukang mie rebus, supaya diem tante saya ngasih mainan orang-orangan/tentara GI, dia seneng banget...

    selamat deh buat obama

  13. From Ria Wibisono on 10 February 2007 16:58:32 WIB
    For me, the quality of a president candidate doesn't depend on his/her elementary school. What more important is how they perform themselves as well-educated people.

    So, it's not a big problem for me if Obama have ever been in Indonesian schools, got Indonesian education and Indonesian friends. Maybe his cross-cultural experience in Indonesia can enrich him, so that he can be a man who respects people from different races, religions, ethnics, etc.

    I also see that the worries of US people about his Indonesian education is too much. Indonesian education is not that bad anyway.... even if Obama went to madrasah. I think it's OK if a Christian goes to Moslem school, or a Moslem goes to Christian school. It won't change one's religion automatically. Maybe it will be good to increase one's knowledge of other religion.
  14. From aldy on 20 February 2008 10:15:58 WIB
    setahu saya, cucu Suharto dan Megawati dulunya bersekolah di SMP Perguruan Cikini, bukan SDN Menteng 1.
    Saya tahu kabar ini karena saya dulu almnus SMP Perguruan Cikini. Kalau begitu Obama bukan bersekolah di SDN Menteng 1, tetapi di SD Perguruan Cikini, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat.

  15. From avis on 30 August 2008 15:37:59 WIB
    .... so why?
  16. From Anxoin on 30 September 2008 23:59:05 WIB
    American, So what if Obama like what you said? I\'m Indonesian and I dont care about that. Meanwhile Obama not Indonesian. He is an aMERICAn citizen, that your own busines. Indonesian has their own destiny, stand up with Islam forever. But, Remember American! Watch your step, if you still behind izrael zionism. All of Indonesian muslim will declare legal war to your country.
  17. From Andre Agung on 08 November 2008 16:33:00 WIB
    I hope the Obama can change the world to better direction...

    Semoga saja Pak Obama bisa menghembuskan \" wind of chage \" pada dunia yang dapat merubah dunia kearah yang lebih baik...

    HIDUP OBAMA..........!!!!!!
  18. From Arif_jo on 20 January 2009 09:26:35 WIB
    Who you, from anywhere your origin of only one of your lord\'s messages..... used your instinct.... united the world........ HIDUP obama....

    Obama... thanks....
  19. From iyas on 01 March 2011 14:49:54 WIB
    good afternoon Mr President. I come from Indonesia I want bgt attend school there in the country .. and hopefully the father of the president is pleased tuk father to read ya ...
    thank you sirr

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