Washington, 03 Jumadil Akhir 1437/12 March 2016 (MINA) – A revealing series of interviews with US President Barack Obama has given insight into a private discussion he had with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The 20,000-word feature published in The Atlantic magazine also relies on interviews with Mr Obama’s former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her successor John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other world leaders and key White House insiders.
It details part of a meeting between Mr Obama and Mr Turnbull during November’s APEC summit in Manila, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting smh.com.
The president, according to The Atlantic, described to Mr Turnbull how he had watched Indonesia gradually move from a relaxed, multi-faceted Islam to a more fundamentalist, unforgiving interpretation with large numbers of Indonesian women adopting the hijab Muslim head covering.
“Why, Turnbull asked, was this happening?” the author of the feature, Jeffrey Goldberg, wrote.
Mr Obama told the prime minister the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have funnelled money and large numbers of imams and teachers into Indonesia and in the 1990s the Saudis heavily funded Wahhabist madrassas, seminaries that teach the fundamentalist version of Islam favoured by the Saudi ruling family, according to The Atlantic.
Mr Obama also told Mr Turnbull Islam in Indonesia was much more Arab in orientation than it was when he lived there.
“Aren’t the Saudis your friends?,” Mr Turnbull reportedly asked Mr Obama.
Mr Obama smiled and said: “It’s complicated” (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)