|Mama Sarah Obama|
President Barack Obama’s Kenyan Muslim grandmother came within hours of converting to Christianity yesterday but changed her mind after her son prevailed on her not to attend a large evangelistic crusade at a sports stadium where she was to be baptized.
Mama Sarah Obama had dressed and was waiting for a vehicle, hired by members of the Nyang’oma Seventh Day Adventist Church, to take her the 60 miles to the baptisimal service being held at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground in Kisumu, the Nairobi Daily Nation reported.
When Pastor Tom Obuya arrived at Mama Sarah’s Nyang’oma Kogello home, he was told she would not be accomplanying him to the Christian service.
“Mama Sarah had assured us that she was converting, and we were ready to baptize her today, but it seems the family has prevailed upon her,” said Pastor Obuya.
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Saidi Obama, Mama Sarah’s son, said he and other family members were adamant that she not attend the baptisimal service.
“I was opposed to it because I believe she was not fully informed about what they were going to do to her. I personally asked her not to attend the function,” he said.
“I did not understand why they were asking her to attend a Christian ceremony, yet she is a Muslim. I thought her presence in the church would not add any value.”
In the past, Sarah Obama has made conflicting claims about her religious beliefs. In April 2007, she told the New York Times, “I am a strong believer of the Islamic faith.” Eleven months later, when some were speculating Barack Obama might be a “secret Muslim,” she denied it, telling USA Today that she, too, is a Christian.
“In the world of today, children have different religions from their parents,” she said.
Her immediate family, it appears, considers her a Muslim and wishes it to stay that way.
Obuya said his church had been reaching out to Mama Sarah for the past three weeks. Two of her sisters-in law, who were to accompany her, went with Obuya to the crusade conducted by Australian evangelist John Jeremic. Her baptism was to mark the culmination of the evangelistic crusade.
“She would also have attracted unnecessary attention which is not good for her,” Saidi Obama said.