As a schoolboy in Jakarta, Barack Obama attended Muslim prayer sessions with his classmates against the wishes of his mother.Earlier this year, Indonesian filmmaker Damien Dematra announced his decision to make a film about President Obama's childhood years in Jakarta. The film's release was scheduled to coincide with the President's planned visit to Indonesia last June. [The President later postponed the visit.]
The US President's former grade three teacher [Mr. Effendi] said that Mr Obama - who was known as "Barry" when he attended the Menteng One school in Jakarta - studied the Koran and went to classes on Islam, despite the objections of Anne Dunham, a Roman Catholic...
Mr Obama attended classes on Islam while the Christians attended classes on Christianity, said Effendi. Barry, he said, was alone among the pupils in that he insisted on attending both.
"His mother did not like him learning Islam, although his father was a Muslim. Sometimes she came to the school; she was angry with the religious teacher and said 'Why did you teach him the Koran?'" said Effendi.
"But he kept going to the classes because he was interested in Islam. He would also join the other pupils for Muslim prayers."
The movie was expected to include scenes of a young Barack Obama prostrating [in prayer] in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, as well as reciting from the Koran.
Mr. Dematra said he had proof that Obama prayed in the manner of a Muslim and recited the Koran...
“Tomorrow we’re going to finalize the movie script," Dematra said at the time, "including whether we’ll show Obama praying or reciting from the Koran."“The movie is an account of the people around him, friends, neighbors, teachers, schoolmates," he said...
However, several weeks later, M. Dematra announced that the depiction of Obama praying toward Mecca would not be included in the film.
Mr. Dematra said that, upon receiving "input from various parties", he had decided not to include the prayer scenes in the film. Mr. Dematra did not identify the "various parties".
"Whether the decision to nix the prayer scenes was due to 'outside political pressure' or not," I noted at the time, "is likely to remain unknown."