Obamas childhood friends deny he was a Muslim

August 29th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

London, Aug 29 (ANI): Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obamas opponents have tried to smear him with the claim that he attended a madrassah in Indonesia, but his childhood friends have denied that he was a Muslim.

Obama as a six-year-old boy moved to Jakarta with his white American mother Ann in 1967 and was known as Barry Soetoro, taking his surname from his new Indonesian stepfather.

We liked to make fun of Barry and tease him, said Harmon Askiar, a 54-year-old contractor who still lives in the house where young Obama came to play.

He got angry but he liked it, because he felt welcome with our family, The Telegraph quoted Askiar, as saying.

Another friend, Ronny Amir, recalls some children from another area disturbing their game of football. Barry was very upset. He went home, got his baby crocodile and chased them with it, he said.

Obama was registered as a Muslim at St Francis Assissi school, but the entry is rife with errors including that Barry Soetoro was Indonesian. His old friends all insist that he was not a Muslim.

Ive asked all the neighbours whether they saw him pray at the mosque and the answer is no, but he played around the mosque, said Zulfan Adi, 47, who runs an Internet cafe.

He arrived suddenly and suddenly disappeared, said Zulfan Adi, who said he once threw the young Barack in a swamp. Now he has suddenly appeared again as a (possible) President.

During his fourth and final year in Indonesia, Obama moved to a government school, which has been described as a madrassah. The current headmaster, Kuwadiyanto, dismisses the suggestion.

This is a public school for children of every background, he said.

After four years in Jakarta, Obama returned to live with his grandparents in Hawaii. (ANI)

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