US president Barack Obama's grandmother Sarah Omar prayed on a pilgrimage to Mecca for him to convert to Islam, it has emerged.
Ever since he launched his White House campaign, the U.S. President has been dogged by speculation over his religion.
Obama, whose middle name is Hussein, has always maintained he is a ‘committed Christian'.
But many in the U.S. still believe otherwise. The revelation that his 88-year-old Kenyan grandmother Sarah Omar prayed for him to switch faiths follows a poll which found one in five believes he is a Muslim.
Mrs Omar was on a pilgrimage to Mecca with her son, Obama's uncle, Saeed Hussein Obama.
During her visit, she reportedly told a Saudi newspaper: ‘I prayed for my grandson Barack to convert to Islam.'
She told the newspaper that she could only discuss hajj matters and would not comment on Obama's politics.
The perception persists that Obama is a Muslim because his father was brought up in an Islamic household.
But the President was baptised at the Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, in 1988 and was an active member of the congregation for 20 years.
A recent poll found one in five Americans believes he is a Muslim, but the White House has consistently said that the president is a Christian.