'Obama dress not Muslim'

Katharine Houreld

Katharine Houreld

NAIROBI - A Kenyan elder who presented US Senator Barack Obama with a traditional dress said in a Kenyan newspaper report on Saturday that the outfit was cultural, not religious.

Pictures of Obama wearing the robe and turban were widely circulated on the Internet. A US political blogger said he had received them from two unnamed employees of Obama's rival for the Democratic presidential ticket, Hillary Clinton.

Some commentators suggested that the pictures showed Obama was a Muslim. However, retired civil servant Mohammed Hassan Mumin said he had presented gifts of similar clothing to several other leaders, including three Kenyan presidents and a member of the British royal family.

The gifts were presented to Obama during a visit to Kenya in 2006.

"If President George Bush came to visit," Mumin told The Nationnewspaper, "I could have dressed him the same as Barack Obama."

Two volunteers on the Clinton campaign have had to resign after circulating e-mails saying Obama is Muslim -Sapa-AP