“Untruths are told that don’t have anything to do with what Barack is about,” says Sarah Hussein Obama, grandmother of the U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful. Here she stands outside of her house in the village of Kogelo, western Kenya.
By Katharine Houreld, Associated Press
Stranger than fiction, but being American, you believe anything, right?
KOGELO, Kenya â€” American shock jocks, dirty tricks masterminds and political bloggers: Beware the wrath of an 86-year-old Kenyan villager.
A frown replaces the dimpled beam of Sarah Hussein Obama, grandmother of U.S. senator Barack Obama, when asked on Wednesday about recent attacks on her grandson that include the spreading of rumors that he is secretly a Muslim and the repeated use of his middle name â€” Hussein â€” by a radio host at rally of the Republican presidential candidate.
“Untruths are told that don’t have anything to do with what Barack is about,” she said in the local Luo language, her gray hair smoothed neatly under a headwrap. “I am very against it.”
Matt Drudge, who publishes the political blog the Drudge Report, said that he was e-mailed a widely circulated picture of Obama in a turban and robe by the Clinton campaign.
“Bringing such pictures that are trying to imply that not only is he a foreigner, he is a Muslim is wrong, because that is not what he is,” scolded Sarah Obama.
The photo was taken when he was presented with the outfit while on a visit to his late father’s native Kenya, where many of the family still live. Clinton campaign officials have said they did not condone any such dirty tricks.
Obama’s grandfather had converted to Islam from Roman Catholicism and taken the name Hussein, Sarah Obama said, but his children had inherited only the name, not the religion. Each person should be able to choose how they worshipped, she said.
* You don’t say!
“In the world of today, children have different religions from their parents,” she said. She, too, is a Christian.
Sarah Obama was the second wife of the candidate’s late grandfather, so is not his biological grandmother. But Barack Obama’s half sister, Auma Obama, said: “By our definition, in our culture, she is his grandmother,” she said.
The intense interest generated by the race for the Democratic nomination â€” between two candidates who would either be the first female or the first black president â€” has thrust Obama’s Kenyan family into the spotlight.
“Barack’s done extremely well and we’re very proud of him,” Auma Obama said when asked for a reaction to the losses on Tuesday. “This is like a football match. The game continues.”
Stranger than fiction:
In April of last year, Sarah Hussein Obama told the New York Times she is a devout Muslim.
Sarah Hussein Obama, who is his stepgrandmother but whom Mr. Obama calls his grandmother, still rises at 5 a.m. to pray before tending to her crops and the three orphans she has taken in.
Sarah Hussein Obama of Kenya, Barack Obama’s stepgrandmother, is a lifelong Muslim. “I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith,” she says.
What say you now, Barrack Hussein, you Bumma?
The leader of Kenya’s (Muslim) opposition and main-instigator behind the recent riots Riola Odinga claims he is a cousin of US presidential hopeful Hussein Barrak Obammah.
Mr Odinga told the BBC’s The World Today that Senator Obama’s father was his maternal uncle.
Mr Obama’s father – a Kenyan also called Barack – met and married his American mother when they were students at the university of Hawaii.
Mr Obama has previously been identified as a distant cousin of Vice-President Dick Cheney.