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Cablegate: East Java: Surabaya's Ramadan Outreach Makes a Positive

VZCZCXRO7788
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0081/01 2600934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170934Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0453
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0442
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0173
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0464

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000081

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/PD, EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL SOCI KISL ID
SUBJECT: EAST JAVA: SURABAYA'S RAMADAN OUTREACH MAKES A POSITIVE
IMPRESSION FROM PESANTRENS TO THE BLOGOSPHERE

REF: Jakarta 1465

SURABAYA 00000081 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: The staff of ConGen Surabaya extended their
hands to 1500 Indonesians during the first three weeks of
Ramadan. Surabaya hosted seven Iftaar events (known locally as
Buka Puasas) throughout East Java and gave eight presentation on
"Muslims in America" at local schools. The Iftaar guest lists
included senior political officials, academics and religious
leaders, high school students and USG program participants,
orphans and disadvantaged youth, and Surabaya's blogger
community. Community leaders publicly praised the Consulate's
efforts as demonstrating America's humanity and an understanding
of Islam. The President's Ramadan Kareem video was shown to
more than 750 people through the Iftaars and presentations at
local schools. The video inspired an op-ed by Syaifullah Yusuf,
Vice Governor of East Java, who described his positive
impression of the Consulate's Iftaar and the President's
message. End Summary.

REACHING OUT TO ALL LEVELS

2. (U) ConGen Surabaya hosted seven Buka Puasa events during the
first three weeks of Ramadan, breaking the fast with more than
1,000 East Javans. The first event included prominent
government officials, religious leaders, academics, and opinion
leaders. Vice-Governor of East Java, Syaifullah Yusuf, led the
prayers and spoke on behalf of the guests about the meaning of
celebrating Ramadan in the CGR. (Note: Also known as Gus Ipul,
the Vice-Governor is the nephew of former Indonesian President
Gus Dur and the former national chairman of the youth wing of
Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization in
Indonesia.) After the Iftaar, Gus Ipul placed an op-ed in the
Jawa Pos, the largest media group in Indonesia, about the
Consulate's Iftaar and the positive impression the President's
Ramadan Kareem message had on him.

3. (U) Three Iftaars were community-service oriented. Members
of staff and their families visited Pesantren Roudlotul Jannah
in Sidoarjo, a religious school which raises abandoned children
from throughout Indonesia, especially Bali. In cooperation with
STKIP Bangkalan, an English teaching college, the Consulate
hosted an Iftaar for 200 orphans on the nearby island of Madura.
The Consulate hosted another Buka Puasa at a Surabaya school
for the blind. Over 450 children received care packages from
the Consulate and broke fast with the Consulate staff. The
positive press was overwhelming, with religious leaders praising
the Consulate's efforts as clear demonstrations of America's
humanity and an understanding of Islam. Images of Consulate
families playing with the children, singing with the children,
and giving out prayer mats saturated regional media outlets.

4. (U) Two Iftaars were directed towards youth and young adults.
The Consul General hosted YES alumni, IVLP alumni, and
university student leaders for the Consulate's first-youth
oriented Iftaar. The Consulate also hosted an "E-Buka Puasa"
for Eastern Indonesia's blogger community. Many regional blogs
featured posts about the Consulate's Buka Puasa, from photos of
the food to profiles of various Consulate staff. Overall,
guests said they were honored and impressed to be invited to the
Consul General's home and included in Consulate Ramadan events.
The final Iftaar, hosted by the RSO at the CGR, honored the
police and security officials who help secure the Consulate
every day.

A LASTING IMPACT

5. (U) The Consulate community reached out directly to 1500
people in three weeks, not only through the seven Iftaars, but
also through an additional eight outreach events at local high
schools where Consulate Officers gave presentations about
"Muslims in America" and fielded the full range of questions.
Media coverage, in turn, reached hundreds of thousands of people
throughout Eastern Indonesia. Local newspapers ran multiple
stories about each event; radio stations broadcast the
Consulate's Ramadan greetings, and local TV stations ran
positive reports on the Consulate's outreach events on evening
news programs.

6. (U) Jawa Pos daily (circulation 340,000) ran an article
headlined "Peace Message from President Obama" following a
presentation about Muslims in the U.S. at a Sidoarjo high
school. Duta Masyarakat, a daily affiliated with Indonesia's
largest Muslim organization NU, ran an article headlined
"Building Harmony, Understanding Islam" about the Iftaar at the
CGR with local opinion leaders. The article highlighted the
PO's statements that tolerance in religious life is a principle
embraced by the U.S. Moch Hafiz, head of STKIP Bangkalan, told
reporters the Buka Puasa in Madura showed "that Americans to do

SURABAYA 00000081 002.2 OF 002


not consider Muslims to be the enemy". The Consulate's Iftaars
and Ramadan outreach strategy successfully conveyed our message
of peace, tolerance, and understanding.
MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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