News / Asia

Survey: Indonesia Remains Only Muslim Country Where US is Popular

Barack Obama (R) during his childhood living in Indonesia
Barack Obama (R) during his childhood living in Indonesia

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden

A recent Pew survey shows that a majority of people in most Muslim countries hold overwhelmingly negative views of the United States. The one exception is Indonesia, where President Barack Obama lived as a boy. Despite the fact that President Obama has twice canceled state visits there, he and the U.S. remain popular.

A new movie entitled Obama Anak Mentang, about President Barack Obama's teen years living in Indonesia, will soon debut in Jakarta.

The film's director, Damien Dematra, says his movie reinforces the strong personal connection most Indonesians feel with the U.S. president.

"We just love the idea of having the most powerful man on Earth, you know, raised in a country like us," said Dematra.  "So we produce a world leader anyway and we should be proud of that."

According to a recent Pew survey Indonesia is virtually the only Muslim majority country where the United States is popular.

Anis Baswedan, a political analyst and president of Paramadina University in Jakarta, says most people understood the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf and other domestic concerns that have forced Mr. Obama to cancel two planned state visits to Indonesia. For Indonesians, he says the U.S. President remains a symbol of America's promise of inclusion and equality.

"The U.S. is a melting pot of any nations you can name on Earth," said Baswedan.  "It's there. Same like Indonesia we have hundreds of languages and we live under the same principle unity in diversity."

On the other hand, Indonesian views of the U.S. have been tempered by, what many say, has been the lack of change in U.S. foreign policy, particularly in ending the ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And President Obama's refusal to strongly condemn Israel, after it attacked a flotilla carrying activists and aid to the Palestinian city of Gaza, angered demonstrators like university student Sahid Sundana.

"President Obama has to prevent Israel from doing this kind of thing, and not to protect or cover up for them," said Sundana.

Baswedan says there is growing concern that President Obama cannot live up to the high expectations his supporters have set for him.

"We are seeing the same one who has legitimacy on both sides of the world and able to capitalize those, but the progress we have seen is rather minimal," said Baswedan.

Baswedan says the personal affection Indonesians hold for President Obama and the United States will not last if Mr. Obama does not deliver on his promise of change.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid