US President Barrack Obama with National Mosque Imam Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail MuhammadKUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Bernama) -- National Mosque imam Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad has pleaded to the United States (US) President Barack Obama to end oppression against Muslims worldwide.
He took the opportunity to express his wishes to Obama while taking the US President on a 25-minute guided tour of the mosque and the Heroes' Mausoleum, at Jalan Perdana this morning.
In response Obama said "pray for me," Ismail told reporters after Obama's visit to the Malaysian iconic monuments here today.
"Obama also said that every day when he wakes up he always does his best to put an end to oppression and conflicts affecting communities," he said.
Ismail, 70, also expressed his excitement on the historic meeting with Obama, which was his second meeting with a sitting US President.
His first meeting was with President Lyndon B.Johnson's in 1966, about 48 years ago when he was 22 years old and a tahfiz student (studying the Quran).
" I never expect I would meet another US President in my lifetime, after almost 50 years," he added.
Ismail was also impressed with Obama's ability to understand the Malay language, in which he sometimes communicated with the US President.
Despite Obama's limited vocabulary, the US President frequently replied with "Insya Allah" (God willing) and "terima kasih" (thank you), he said.
"It was nice of him, although he could not speak much of the Malay language but understood what I had said to him," smiled Ismail.
Obama's visit to the National Mosque was the first event of his second day state visit to Malaysia, and the visit to the mosque indicates his acceptance of the moderate Islamic practice in the country, where the majority of its 30 million people are Muslims.
Obama, who arrived yesterday for a three-day state visit to Malaysia, was accompanied by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as minister-in- attendance, and United States Special Envoy to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Rashad Hussain.
After Obama's visit, Ismail held a brief meeting with Rashad which touched on Islamic banking, Muslim entreprenuers development programmes and halal hub.
Ismail said Rashad had expressed US's admiration for Malaysia's Islamic banking system and was keen to learn more about it.