Washington: A day after a poll found that one in five Americans think US President Barack Obama is a Muslim, the White House has asserted he is a Christian, who prays every day.
(1 in 5 Americans think Obama is a Muslim: Poll)
"President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life," White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters on board Air Force One on way to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
"He prays every day, he seeks a small circle of Christian pastors to give him spiritual advice and counseling, he even receives a daily devotional that he uses each morning. The President's Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on everyday."
"The President's strong Christian faith is what guides him through the challenges - a recovering economy, bringing troops home from Iraq, putting healthcare and financial reform implementation in place - but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve," Burton said.
Obama was born to a Kenyan father and an American mother and was brought up by his maternal grandparents in Hawaii because his father, who was also called Barack, left for Africa when Obama was just two. He has said in his autobiography that his grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a Muslim.
According to a poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released Thursday, nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year.
While most of those who think Obama is Muslim are Republicans, the number of independents who believe he is Muslim has expanded significantly, from 10 percent last year to 18 percent now.
The number of Americans who express uncertainly about the president's religion, meanwhile, is much larger and has also grown, including among Obama's political base. For instance, fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans now say that Obama is Christian according to the Pew poll.