Obama visits Malaysia's national mosque, pays respects at mausoleum

US President Barack Obama (second from left) touring the National Mosque of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on April 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
US President Barack Obama (second from left) touring the National Mosque of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on April 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- US President Barack Obama paid his respects at Malaysia's National Mausoleum - a burial ground of several Malaysian politicians including former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in the compound of the National Mosque on Sunday.

The US leader arrived at 9.40am and was welcomed by National Mosque grand Imam Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad.

Donning a dark lounge suit with blue tie, Mr Obama also took some time to visit the main prayer room of the National Mosque.

Also present are Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and US special envoy to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Rashad Hussain.

Mr Obama is scheduled to hold talks in Putrajaya with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak before dropping by at the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MaGIC), Cyberjaya, in the afternoon to be briefed and give a pep talk.

The US president will also hold a town hall session with young leaders from South-east Asia.

The visit to the mosque, built in 1922 on the site of a church, was greatly anticipated, with Muslim scholars here saying it would further emphasise the president's commitment to reach out to the Muslim world.

Masjid Negara's unique modern design embodies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art calligraphy and ornamentation.

Malaysia is the third leg of Mr Obama's four-nation tour of Asia, and he will end his trip with a visit to the Philippines on Monday.

Mr Obama's visit to Malaysia is the first by a sitting US President since President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.