KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 – The visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to the National Mosque here today, showed he was impressed with Malaysia's achievements as an advanced and dynamic Islamic country in the Southeast Asian region.
Religious leaders and academicians welcomed Obama's gesture to spend time at the landmark of Islam in Malaysia since 1965 and saw the visit as a start of better understanding of the teachings of Islam.
Ulama Association of Malaysia secretary-general, Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Roslan Mohd Nor said Malaysia should make good use of the space paved through this visit to be a lobby power for peace in the Islamic world, more so when Malaysia had been playing an active role in Islamic organisations.
"Malaysia needs to bring the movement of moderates to the fore and look into the fate of oppressed Muslims through dialogues and discussions with the world's big powers like the United States," he said.
The 44th U.S. President visited the National Mosque in Jalan Perdana, here, this morning and he was received by its imam, Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad and the mosque committee.
Obama, dressed in a black suit, was accompanied by Syaikh Ismail to the prayer hall and later the Warriors' Mausoleum located next to the mosque.
Religious speaker, Ustaz Wan Akashah Wan Abdul Hamid said the visit was a positive approach by Obama who arrived in the country yesterday to get to know the religion, besides being a mark of respect for Muslims.
"This is out of the ordinary as I cannot recall any non-Muslim world leader visiting the National Mosque and this is a good start for Muslims here," he said.
Former National Mosque imam, Datuk Hassan Mahmood Al-Hafiz said the willingness of the world leader to set foot on the Islamic landmark was a good omen, more so when Muslims were being wrongly linked to violence.
"It is hoped he (Obama) could see the beauty of Islam as a religion of peace," he said.
International Movement for a Just World (JUST) president, Dr Chandra Muzaffar hoped the visit would bring about more positive development to Islam in the eyes of the world.
"We also hope good gestures will follow after the visit and as Muslims, we need to welcome the arrival of anyone who wants to know about Islam," he said.
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