Muslim or Christian? Religion Row Dogs Obama

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Aug 21 (IANS) A day after controversial evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham said Barack Obama was born a Muslim because of his father's religious beliefs, the White House again asserted that the president is a "committed Christian" and prays daily.

Graham, son of famed presidential religious adviser Billy Graham, told CNN Thursday that while he believes Obama is now a Christian, the president was born a Muslim because the "seed of Islam" is passed through the father.

On Friday, White House spokesman Bill Burton said that while Graham is entitled to his own opinion, the president is Christian.

"(T)he president is a committed Christian," Burton told reporters. "I think that the American people know that, and Franklin Graham is certainly entitled to his opinion."

A poll released Thursday, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that nearly one in five Americans believes Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who last year said they believed he was Muslim.

Burton said Friday he isn't sure why the numbers have increased. "I can't say why people necessarily changed their mind in this poll, I can't say why folks even answer the question when pollsters call," Burton said.

When told one of the reasons cited by many was that the president was not seen going to church on Sunday, Burton said, "By the president choosing a church, it does put undue pressure on that congregation, and it makes it a lot harder for folks to get into the church and to worship".

But "he (Obama) prays every day. He talks to a wide range of pastors and religious leaders periodically. And you'll see him in church again. I mean, he's been to church as president. He'll go to church once again. But he is getting spiritual guidance on a regular basis."

Obama was born to a Kenyan father and an American mother and was brought up by his maternal grandparents in Hawaii because his father, who was also called Barack, left for Africa when Obama was just two. He has said in his autobiography that his grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a Muslim.

Asked by CNN Thursday if he had any doubts about Obama's Christian faith, Graham, who has made controversial comments about Islam in the past, said the president's background is fuelling the false perception that he is a Muslim.

"I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name," Graham said.

"Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the Prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That is what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said," Graham continued.


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Comment on this article

  • Bulsam, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 21 2010

    It is sad that the citizens of US are brain washed by the Jewish lobby to consider all Muslims as terrorists. The Israelis have all the rights to defend themselves but not at the cost of the second largest religion of the world. They have all the liberty to forcibly settle in a Palestine land, to woo the wealth of the developed world and develop the worlds most military armaments & nuclear bombs though they are a tiny occupied state.

    Obama may have a muslim ancestry but he spoke what the constitution of the USA allowed to their citizens. Is it illegal to have an Islamic center near the Ground Zero that too by a moderate Sufism Imam whose wife is an active social worker belonging to a Kashmir parent.

    As I told earlier, there are terrorists in all religion but they are not representing or protecting their religion with unlawful and unreligious act of terrorism. Please separate the terrorists from any religion and also stop calling the terrorists belonging to Muslim religion as Islamic terrorists. By doing this you are inviting more Muslims to become terrorists.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Jerome, Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 21 2010

    I am surprised to know that the religion issues do exist even in US.Why should they bother about his religion, see his ability,leadership and contributions.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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