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U.S. President Barack Obama walks toward the Oval Office of the White House after he arrived back in Washington on September 8, 2010.The President traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to deliver remarks on the economy at Cuyahoga Community College West Campus. UPI/Olivier Douliery/Pool Photo via Newscom

A Pakistani newspaper is quoting one of the country’s ministers as stating he wants President Obama to offer Muslim prayers at Ground Zero and become the “Caliph,” or ruler, of the Islamic nation.

“The coming Eid would expectedly be observed on 9/11; this a golden opportunity for President Obama to offer Eid prayers at Ground Zero and become Amir-ul-Momineen or Caliph of Muslims. In this way, all the problems of Muslim World would be solved,” stated Minister of State for Industries and Productions Ayatullah Durrani, according to Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper.

The newspaper reported Durrani called its offices and argued the Muslim world was in “dire need” of a supreme leader and that the position would earn Obama the exemplary titles of what Durrani termed “Mullah Barrack Hussain (sic) Obama,” or “Allama Obama.”

“The time is approaching fast. Barrack Hussain Obama must act now. This is a golden opportunity, Muslims badly need it,” added Durrani, according to the newspaper.

Duranni reportedly stated that Obama becoming supreme Islamic leader would be the “key to success.”

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Eid, short for Eid Ul-Fitr, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Ameer-ul-Momineen means the Islamic leader of the faithful, while Caliph refers to the head of the Caliphate, or Muslim nation ruled by Islamic law.

Durrani could not be immediately reached by WND for comment.

He is a member of the Pakistani People’s Party. He holds a doctorate in physics and served as a member of Pakistan’s Islamic Ideology Council in the 1990s.

The Nation newspaper, meanwhile, bills itself as “the most credible of English Newspapers in Pakistan.”

An editor for The Nation, reached by WND at the newspaper’s Islamabad office, could not immediately confirm which reporter obtained Durrani’s quotes.

“The story was published on our website and newspaper, so I have to say the quotes are real,” the editor said.

Duranni’s purported quotes may add fuel to the belief – held by nearly 1 in 5 Americans, according to a recent Pew poll – that Obama is a Muslim.

Obama was ‘quite religious in Islam’

Obama has repeatedly stated he is a Christian.

The president’s closest association with Christianity apparently comes from his nearly 20-year membership at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright, married Barack and Michelle Obama and baptized their children.

Trinity church is closely linked to the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, has given numerous guest sermons at the church. Wright gave Farrakhan the church’s “Empowerment” award. Both Obama and Farrakhan were featured on the cover of Wright’s monthly Trumpet magazine.

Wright is infamous for his sermons denouncing patriotism, whites and Jews.

Obama’s paternal side of the family, including his father, half-brothers and grandmother, are Muslims.

Obama’s faith was a central part of his 2008 presidential campaign. His campaign website contained the statement, “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised as a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”

But as WND reported, public records in Indonesia listed Obama as a Muslim during his early years, and a number of childhood friends claimed to media that Obama was once a mosque-attending Muslim.

Obama’s 2008 campaign wavered several times in response to reporters’ queries regarding the senator’s childhood faith.

Commenting on a Los Angeles Times report quoting a childhood friend stating Obama prayed in a mosque, Obama’s campaign released a statement explaining the senator “has never been a practicing Muslim.”

Widely distributed reports have noted that in January 1968 Obama was registered as a Muslim at Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Fransiskus Assisi Primary School under the name Barry Soetoro. He was listed as an Indonesian citizen whose stepfather, identified on school documents as “L Soetoro Ma,” worked for the topography department of the Indonesian Army.

Catholic schools in Indonesia routinely accept non-Catholic students but exempt them from studying religion.

After attending the Assisi Primary School, Obama was enrolled “also as a Muslim, according to documents” in the Besuki Primary School, a public school in Jakarta.

Laotze blog, run by an American expatriate in Southeast Asia who visited the Besuki school, noted, “All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school, and a young ‘Barry Soetoro,’ being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school. He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam.”

Indeed, in Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams from My Father,” he acknowledged studying the Quran and describes the public school as “a Muslim school.”

“In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies,” wrote Obama.

The Indonesian media have been flooded with accounts of Obama’s childhood Islamic studies, some describing him as a religious Muslim.

Speaking to the country’s Kaltim Post, Tine Hahiyary, who was principal of Obama’s school while he was enrolled there, said she recalls he studied the Quran in Arabic.

“At that time, I was not Barry’s teacher, but he is still in my memory,” claimed Tine, who is 80 years old.

The Kaltim Post said Obama’s teacher, named Hendri, had died.

“I remember that he studied mengaji (recitation of the Quran),” Tine said, according to an English translation by Loatze.

Mengaji, or the act of reading the Quran with its correct Arabic punctuation, is usually taught to more religious pupils and is not known as a secular study.

Also, Loatze documented the Indonesian daily Banjarmasin Post interviewed Rony Amir, an Obama classmate and Muslim, who described Obama as “previously quite religious in Islam.”

“We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house,” Amir said. “If he was wearing a sarong (waist fabric worn for religious or casual occasions) he looked funny.”

The Los Angeles Times, which sent a reporter to Jakarta, quoted Zulfin Adi, who identified himself as among Obama’s closest childhood friends, stating the presidential candidate prayed in a mosque, something Obama’s campaign claimed he never did.

“We prayed, but not really seriously, just following actions done by older people in the mosque,” said Adi. “But as kids, we loved to meet our friends and went to the mosque together and played.”

Friday prayers

Obama’s official presidential campaign site contained a page titled “Obama has never been a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.” The page stated, “Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ.”

But the campaign changed its tune when it issued a “practicing Muslim” clarification to the Los Angeles Times.

An article in March by the Chicago Tribune apparently disputed Adi’s statements to the L.A. paper. The Tribune caught up with Obama’s declared childhood friend, who now describes himself as only knowing Obama for a few months in 1970 when his family moved to the neighborhood. Adi said he was unsure about his recollections of Obama.

But the Tribune found Obama did attend mosque.

“Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia,” states the Tribune article.

It quotes Obama’s former neighbors and third-grade teacher recalling how the young Obama “occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers.”

Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, notes the Tribune article “cited by liberal blogs as refuting claims Obama is Muslim” actually implies Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim and twice confirms Obama attended mosque services.

In an interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”

The Times’ Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.

The first few lines of the call to prayer state:

Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …

Some attention also has been paid to Obama’s paternal side of the family, including his father and his brother, Roy.

Writing in a chapter of his book describing his 1992 wedding, Obama stated: “The person who made me proudest of all was Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol.”


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