Belief Beat

Diwali, a major Hindu holiday also celebrated by some Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, starts tomorrow — just as President Obama kicks off his 10-day tour of India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan. McClatchy’s Washington Blog reports:

Obama knows all about the holiday. Last year, he became the first U.S. president to observe Diwali in a White House ceremony, along with Indian and Indian-American guests. This weekend, he’ll take part in Diwali festivities at a school in Mumbai.

Check out Beliefnet’s Hinduism and Diwali pages for more on the holiday.

During his Asia trip, Obama will probably focus on shoring up U.S.-India diplomatic relations, addressing global economic concerns and reaching out to the Muslim world, particularly given his childhood ties to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country. (India has the third largest concentration of the world’s Muslims, but they only make up about 15 percent of that country’s Hindu-majority population.) In Mumbai, he’ll be staying at the Taj Hotel, acknowledging the 2008 attacks by Islamic terrorists from Pakistan. (As I blogged previously, he won’t be visiting the Jewish Chabad House, due to security concerns.)

Here are a few more faith-related headlines about Obama’s trip:

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