Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rushed New Movie on Obama’s Jakarta Boyhood Set to Ignite Religious Debate

A new film about Obama's childhood in the Central Jakarta suburb of Menteng is being rushed into production. It could reinflame controversy about Obama's alleged Muslim roots used by right-wing detractors in an attempt to undermine his bid for the US presidency.

In a move sure to provoke controversy among right-wing groups in the United States, production is set to begin on a new Indonesian movie about Barack Obama’s childhood in Jakarta. The movie is expected to include scenes of the future US president prostrating to God in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, as well as reciting from the Koran.

The film is based on the novel “Obama Anak Menteng” (“Obama the Menteng Kid”), which the author claims to be a true account of “Barry’s” childhood in the Jakarta suburb. The novel was reportedly written in five days after Damien spent five days interviewing 30 people. He said he had proof that Obama prayed in the manner of a Muslim and recited the Koran.

Obama, a Christian, was forced to repeatedly deny claims during his ultimately successful presidential election campaign that he had Islamic roots and was educated in a Muslim madrassa. His African father and Indonesian stepfather were Muslim, though he attended secular and Catholic schools in Jakarta. Obama spent three years in Jakarta in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The president, who remains deeply popular in Indonesia in stark contrast to his predecessor, George W Bush, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in part for his efforts to reach out to the Muslim world. Shooting on the film would start this week and the movie would be in cinemas on June 17.

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