Obama leaves on November 5 on a 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. On November 10 in Jakarta, Obama will visit the Istiqlal Mosque, and then make his speech from another, outdoor location, where there could be a large crowd. First lady Michelle Obama is also going to Jakarta. The U.S. president was due to travel to Indonesia in March and in June, but put off the visit each time because of domestic political concerns, which disappointed and angered some Indonesians.
But Obama remains popular in the world’s most populous Muslim country, where he spent four years while growing up, even as confidence in him has dropped in other Muslim states since he made a major speech in Cairo. Obama is a Christian but faces persistent talk among some members of the U.S. public that he is a Muslim and, the reports said, aides feared pictures of him wearing such headgear could fuel such rumors. Obama often includes cultural stops while traveling outside the United States and has visited mosques before while traveling in Muslim-majority countries.