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Jewish pop singer and dancer, Madonna Louise Ciccone (born 1958) who supports Barack Obama for re-election, called him a Black Muslim during her performance in Washington DC on Monday.

“Now, it’s so amazing and incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House. We have a Black Muslim in the White House. It means there is a hope in this country, and Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man,” said Madonna.

Responding to a media furor unleashed by the U-Tube video, Madonna issued a statement on Tuesday saying her reference to Obama’s religion was facetious. “I know Obama is not a Muslim – though I know plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were?”, said Madonna.

A recent PEW poll said that 13% of Americans still believe that Obama is a ‘secret Muslim’. A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling said that 52% Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim.

Last year, Madonna toasted the Jewish new year with Israeli president Shimon Peres and declared herself an ‘ambassador of Judaism’. Both exchanged copies of the Old Testament and Kabbalah Book Of Splendour.

Earlier, Italian Christian and Muslim leaders had condemned Madonna’s performance in Rome mocking the crucifixion on stage – as part of her world-wide ‘Confession Tour’. Cardinal Ersilio Tonino called her performance ‘blashphemous’.

“I think her idea is in the worst taste and she’d do better to go home,” Mario scialoja, head of Italy’s Muslim League said.