Howling opposition and worshipful support of the visit of president Obama to Indonesia.
President Barack Obama is expected to make a belated arrival in Indonesia on 23rd March, without his family and after several postponements, first visiting his old hometown of Jakarta for two days, where from aged 7 to 11 he was known locally as “Barry” Soetoro, later moving on to Bali.
The fringe but very well motivated and organised pan-Islamic socialist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has been noisiest in its opposition to the upcoming visit, staging many protests around the country.
Khoiri Sulaiman of the East Java HTI said Obama’s visit would only serve to deepen the subjugation of Indonesia to American economic and political interests, while other HTI spokesmen declared welcoming the American president to be religiously forbidden, or haram.  
However the mainstream face of overtly Islamic politics in Indonesia, the Justice Party/Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), is supportive of the visit, with party chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaq, once scurrilously rumoured to have been an Afghan war veteran , saying 
As a guest of the nation we say “Welcome”. We support better understanding between our two countries, for a better Indonesia.
In a similar way the representative of mild-mannered conservative traditionalist Islam, Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) leader Hasyim Muzadi, emphasised the religious onus on Indonesian Muslims to be good hosts to guests, kafirs or not, especially considering that Obama had made efforts, however imperfect, to improve US relations with the Muslim world. 
Meanwhile, at an extreme to the HTI’s loathing and an example of the semi-worshipful attitude to the US president among some in Indonesia, is one of Indonesia’s oldest, most pre-eminent bloggers, Enda Nasution, who penned an article where Obama is given as writing in the first person about his feelings returning to the place he called home for four years as a child. The piece ends, bizarrely or not: 
Tapi mudah-mudahan juga. Akan ada kesempatan untuk saya…..mencium bau yang pernah saya hirup dulu. Untuk makan, makanan yang pernah saya rasakan dulu.
Karena kali ini saya tidak hanya datang.
Kali ini juga. Saya.
(But hopefully I’ll have the opportunity as well to smell the smells I knew before. To eat the food I tasted before. Because this time I’m not just visiting. This time. I. Come home.)
Still on the burning issue of what local dish Obama will first sit down to, the US Embassy, – not losing any opportunity to use the visit to promote itself and the image of the US in Indonesia, – has among other efforts created an application on FaceBook to enable popular voting on the food issue, and also what colour or style of batik the president will wear while in the country. 
Rambutan, Rendang, Bakso, Durian, Nasi Goreng
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