Imams resist bid to convert Mama Sarah

What you need to know:

  • Muslims have asked the State to step in and avert stalemate

Muslims on Sunday took issue with a church’s attempts to convert US President Barack Obama’s grandmother to Christianity.

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya said it was wrong for the Seventh Day Adventists to coerce Mama Sarah Obama to turn from her Islamic faith.

Organising secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said any attempts by the SDA clergy to convert Mama Sarah without the family’s consent will arouse the wrath of Muslims.

“Mama Sarah should not be forced by anybody to join Christianity since she is a Muslim. Conversion must take place in a voluntary manner,” the CIPK official said.

“The government has to urgently intervene over the matter to prevent a religious stalemate. Muslims will not sit back and watch one of their own being coerced by some Christian religious leaders to convert to Christianity.”

The cleric commended the Obama family for blocking the SDA pastor’s attempt to baptise Mama Sarah.

“It was a right thing for the family members of Mama Sarah to stop the SDA pastor from baptising her. They acted according to the requirements of the Muslim faith. A Muslim should continue to remain in his faith,” said Sheikh Khalifa.

A baptism ceremony for Mama Obama, which was planned for Saturday at the Jomo Kenyatta Grounds in Kisumu, flopped after family members opposed the move.

The baptism ceremony had been intended to be the climax of a three-week convention by the church.

But yesterday, the SDA clerics were not giving up on convincing Mama Sarah to convert to Christianity. Pastors camped at her Kogelo home for the better part of the day, trying to convince her to be baptised.


Already, a church located in the village, has been named after her famous grandson. The Nyang’oma Seventh Day Adventist Church is now called the Obama Seventh Day Adventist Church.

A member of the church’s top leadership in Kisumu, who declined to be named, said that visiting Australian evangelist John Jeremic was expected at the village and would hold discussions with Mama Sarah.


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