President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, told the U.S. government she would homeschool her son using U.S.-approved textbooks during the period she moved the family to Indonesia, according to testimony unearthed by WND.
Indonesian school registration for “Barry Soetoro” (AP photo)
Dunham, however, broke her pledge. She enrolled the future president in Indonesian schools, where he was registered as a Muslim going by the name “Barry Soetoro.”
Dunham’s pledge to homeschool Obama was part of an ongoing attempt to secure an immigration department waiver so her second husband, Indonesian citizen Lolo Soetoro, could return to the U.S. after his visa had expired.
Dunham separated from her first husband, Barack Obama Sr., in 1963 when the future president was 2 years old. Dunham and Obama Sr. are reported to have divorced in 1964.
In 1965 in Hawaii, Dunham married Soetoro, an Indonesian, and moved to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, in October 1967.
WND reported earlier this week evidence continues to mount that Obama was adopted by his Indonesian stepfather, raising concerns over his presidential eligibility.
Soetoro had been studying at the University of Hawaii as part of a State Department-initiated student exchange program.
Soetoro’s U.S. student visa had been sponsored by the University of Hawaii’s Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange between East and West. The program enforced strict visa limitations, requiring foreign students to return to their home countries after two years.
Soetoro outstayed his visa. He eventually was obliged to return to Indonesia after his university program received a special cable from the Indonesian government that Soetoro, a civilian employee of the Indonesian army, should “immediately terminate his studies and return to Djakarta, Indonesia.”
Young Barack Obama with his mother
Soetoro apparently was expected to devote four years of service to the Indonesian government in return for its subsidizing geography studies at the country’s Gadjah Mada University, as well as for his participation in the student exchange program.
With Soetoro back in Indonesia, both he and Dunham filed petitions with U.S. Immigration, in hopes of persuading the American government to grant a waiver allowing Soetoro to return.
Those documents were reviewed by WND. All their requests were denied.
As part of the saga, Robert R. Schmitz, a U.S. Immigration Inspector, noted Dunham’s pledge to homeschool young Obama if she took him to Indonesia.
Schmitz wrote in the immigration file dated May 24, 1967:
“[Mrs. Soetoro] also indicated that her son is now in Kindergarten and will commence the first grade next September and if it is necessary for her and the child to go to Indonesia she will educate the child at home with the help of school texts from the U.S. as approved by the Board of Education in Honolulu. …”
A subsequent document dated Oct. 6, 1967 and addressed to the State Department’s Facilitative Services Staff of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, explained Dunham decided to go to Indonesia if her requests for her husband’s visa were denied.
“She has made application for a visa for herself and her son to travel to Indonesia as she is determined to join her husband as soon as possible, if he is not permitted to return here, because she can no longer endure the separation,” stated the memo.
Lolo Soetoro and Stanley Ann Dunham (Image from University of Hawaii
Once in Indonesia, Dunham clearly violated her pledge to the U.S. government by enrolling her son in Indonesian schools.
Widely distributed reports as well as a photograph of Obama’s school registration papers have documented that in January 1968 Obama was registered as a Muslim at Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Fransiskus Assisi Primary School under the name Barry Soetoro.
He was listed as an Indonesian citizen whose stepfather, identified on school documents as “L Soetoro Ma,” worked for the topography department of the Indonesian army.
Catholic schools in Indonesia routinely accept non-Catholic students but exempt them from studying religion.
After attending the Assisi Primary School, Obama was enrolled “also as a Muslim, according to documents” in the Besuki Primary School, a public school in Jakarta.
Obama once ‘quite religious in Islam’
The Laotze blog, run by an American expatriate in Southeast Asia who visited the Besuki school, noted, “All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school, and a young ‘Barry Soetoro,’ being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school. He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam.”
Indeed, in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” he acknowledged studying the Quran and describes the public school as “a Muslim school.”
“In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies,” wrote Obama.
A number of Obama’s childhood friends from Indonesia claimed to the media that Obama was once a mosque-attending Muslim.
The Indonesian media have been flooded with accounts of Obama’s childhood Islamic studies, some describing him as a religious Muslim.
Speaking to the country’s Kaltim Post, Tine Hahiyary, who was principal of Obama’s school while he was enrolled there, said she recalls he studied the Quran in Arabic.
“At that time, I was not Barry’s teacher, but he is still in my memory,” claimed Tine, who is 80 years old.
The Kaltim Post said Obama’s teacher, named Hendri, had died.
“I remember that he studied mengaji (recitation of the Quran),” Tine said, according to an English translation by Loatze.
Mengaji, or the act of reading the Quran with its correct Arabic punctuation, is usually taught to more religious pupils and is not known as a secular study.
Also, Loatze documented the Indonesian daily Banjarmasin Post interviewed Rony Amir, an Obama classmate and Muslim, who described Obama as “previously quite religious in Islam.”
“We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house,” Amir said. “If he was wearing a sarong (waist fabric worn for religious or casual occasions) he looked funny.”
The Los Angeles Times, which sent a reporter to Jakarta, quoted Zulfin Adi, who identified himself as among Obama’s closest childhood friends, stating the presidential candidate prayed in a mosque, something Obama’s campaign claimed he never did.
“We prayed, but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque,” said Adi. “But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played.”
Obama’s official 2008 presidential campaign site once contained a page titled “Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.” The page stated, “Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ.”
But the campaign changed its tune when it issued a “practicing Muslim” clarification to the Los Angeles Times.
An article in March by the Chicago Tribune apparently disputed Adi’s statements to the L.A. paper. The Tribune caught up with Obama’s declared childhood friend, who now describes himself as only knowing Obama for a few months in 1970 when his family moved to the neighborhood. Adi said he was unsure about his recollections of Obama.
But the Tribune found Obama did attend mosque.
“Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia,” states the Tribune article.
It quotes Obama’s former neighbors and third-grade teacher recalling how the young Obama “occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers.”
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, notes the Tribune article “cited by liberal blogs as refuting claims Obama is Muslim” actually implies Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim and twice confirms Obama attended mosque services.
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
The Times’ Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.
The first few lines of the call to prayer state:
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …
Some attention also has been paid to Obama’s paternal side of the family, including his father and his brother, Roy.
Writing in a chapter of his book describing his 1992 wedding, Obama stated: “The person who made me proudest of all was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol.”
Black Liberation Theology, Nation of Islam
Obama has repeatedly stated he is a Christian.
The president’s closest association with Christianity apparently comes from his nearly 20-year membership at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright, married Barack and Michelle Obama and baptized their children.
Trinity church is closely linked to the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, has given numerous guest sermons at the church. Wright gave Farrakhan the church’s “Empowerment” award. Both Obama and Farrakhan were featured on the cover of Wright’s monthly Trumpet magazine.
Wright is infamous for his sermons denouncing patriotism, whites and Jews.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott