An American Expat in Southeast Asia's blog deserves a visit. He's a long-term American Expat living in the region and has some interesting posts of his view on world affairs as he watches from Southeast Asia. Below is an except from a multi-part post he's been writing entitled Defeating Islamic Extremism. Once at his blog, his views of how the Indonesians view Obama are also with a look.
Hassan smiled and proceeded to heap accolades on me. "It's so nice to see an American who takes the time to learn our culture and language." I smiled and in response to his questions I confirmed that I did in fact have a Malay girlfriend that I liked very much. Hassan asked me if I had converted to Islam and I responded that I hadn't but that my girlfriend's mother spoke about it to me often. Hassan smiled and told me that if I was serious about this girl that I would eventually have to convert to Islam if I wished to marry her. Politely I told Hassan that is was a bit too early for that. Attempting to change the subject, I asked Hassan where he was from and what he was doing in Singapore. Hassan told me that he was from Malaysia and was in Singapore purchasing computer equipment for a madrassa and computer school that he ran in Malaysia. As I got up to leave the restaurant, Hassan scribbled his phone number in Malaysia on a napkin and asked me to stop up and visit sometime whenever I was in Kuala Lumpur.
A few months later I happened to be in Kuala Lumpur and being curious to see what a madrassa was like I decided to pay Hassan a visit. He wasn't exactly in Kuala Lumpur and in fact it was a bit of a drive and so I packed a few things in an overnight bag just in case I got too tired to drive back later. When I arrived at Hassan's madrassa I was bit taken aback at what I saw. The madrassa looked quite a bit rundown and all the students dressed in flowing white robes and turbans were standing outside when I drove in through the driveway to park my car in the back of the building. I walked around the building and spotted Hassan sitting with a few other gentlemen in the madrassa's canteen. Hassan stood up smiling and then introduced to me his "brothers" and then speaking in English, he told them that he had met me in Singapore, how I spoke Indonesian and Malay, that I had a Malay girlfriend and that I was interested in converting to Islam. Hassan's "brothers" smiled broadly and invited me to sit down and join them for a cup of tea. I noticed that Hassan's "brothers" were dressed slightly differently and then over a cup of tea, I came to learn that the "brothers" were in fact from Pakistan and were visiting in Malaysia for a few days before moving on to Indonesia. For the next couple hours we spoke mostly about Afghanistan and Islam and how the Taliban were transforming the country after the Russians had been defeated.
Defeating Islamic Extremism 101 - Part One
Defeating Islamic Extremism 101 - Part Two