* Major outdoor speech, large crowd expected
* Obama popular in Indonesia, where he lived as child
* US and Indonesia to announce new partnership on trip
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will
visit Indonesia's largest mosque and make a major outdoor
speech directed at the global Muslim community when he visits
Indonesia next month, the White House said Thursday.
Obama leaves on Nov. 5 on a 10-day trip to India,
Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. On Nov. 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.
"He'll have a chance to talk about the partnership that
we're building with Indonesia, but also to talk about some of
the themes of democracy and development and our outreach to
Muslim communities around the world," deputy national security
adviser Ben Rhodes told a news conference.
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
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 in June 2009 seeking a
new beginning with the Islamic world.
Obama also will announce a new "comprehensive partnership"
with Indonesia on security, economic and people-to-people
issues, said Jeffrey Bader, the president's top Asian adviser.
He will talk about the partnership in the speech, but also
Indonesia's rise as a democracy and emerging economy, close
relationship with the United States and pluralism.
"Visiting this mosque and in his speech, I think he'll have
the opportunity to underscore the themes that he's made in
terms of outreach to Muslim communities around the world,"
Rhodes told the news conference.
Obama had been expected to visit another major religious
site during his Asian tour, the Sikh Golden Temple in the
northern Indian city of Amritsar. Indian media reports said the
visit was canceled after aides balked at the idea of the U.S.
president wearing the scarf or skullcap required at the site.
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.
Administration officials said scheduling, not headgear,
concerns were the reason Obama is not visiting Amritsar.
Obama often includes cultural stops while traveling outside
the United States and has visited mosques before while
traveling in Muslim-majority countries.
The U.S. leader's popularity in the Muslim world has
dropped since the Cairo speech as the United States has
continued to wage war in Muslim nations Afghanistan and Iraq
and there has been little movement on peace negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinians.
(Editing by Jerry Norton)
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