Thousands of Indonesian Muslims are protesting in front of the United States embassy in anticipation of President Barack Obama's visit to the country later this week because, they say, Obama is a "murderer of Muslims."
The protesters, described as Islamic "hardliners" by Reuters, were carrying signs that said: "America is a Terrorist" and "Reject Obama, Reject Capitalism, Reject Imperialism."
"We strongly oppose America and Obama coming to Indonesia," the group's spokesman, Mujiyanto, told the AFP.
He added: "Obama is a murderer of our Muslim brothers in Palestine and Afghanistan, a thief of Indonesia's natural resources, and an imperialist who seeks to take over the world and will do anything for US interests.”
"Obama coming to Indonesia is an order to strengthen capitalism and imperialism in the Southeast Asia region, particularly Indonesia," said Muhammad Ismail Yusanto, one of the protest leaders, according NTD-TV. "Therefore, through this movement, which is a way for us to show our concern for the future of this country, we urge the people to reject Obama."
Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, with 86 percent of its 250 million people considered Muslim. It also has the fourth largest population in the world.
Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, between the ages of 6 and 10, with his mother and stepfather. This has led to rumors that he is a Muslim who went to a madrasa (a radical fundamentalist school) as a child. However, he is a Christian who attended a secular and a Catholic school while living in Indonesia.
While visiting Indonesia in 2010, Obama visited a mosque, and in a speech later to university students in Jakarta, he spoke of the sometimes tense divide between Christians and Muslims in the island nation.
"As a Christian visiting a mosque on this visit," he said, according to The New York Times, "I found it in the words of a leader who was asked about my visit and said: 'Muslims are also allowed in churches. We are all God's followers.' "
Obama has been criticized for escalating the war in Afghanistan. According to the Brookings Institution, there will be twice as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan compared to when he first became president. Civilian deaths due to fighting between the U.S. Military and the Taliban insurgents have also been on the rise.
Despite the lack of favor among some Indonesian Muslims, Obama has made public efforts to appeal to the nation. When he arrives in Bali on Nov. 18, it will be his second trip to the country as president, and fourth in his life (he also visited in 1992, while writing his autobiography).
Obama will also be the first U.S. president to appear at the East Asia Summit.