Wednesday 26 April 2017

Story shared online about how Obama ordered silence for Muslim daily prayers is false

Former president Barack Obama Photo: REUTERS
Former president Barack Obama Photo: REUTERS

Josh Lederman, in Washington

A story shared thousands of times online claiming former president Barack Obama filled the White House with Muslim imagery and ordered silence during daily prayers is false.

The story, titled "Obama crushed after Trump orders White House to stop his sickest tradition", was published shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration.

It was posted on The Resistance: The Last Line Of Defence, a satirical website that imitates an news outlet. It was reposted to dozens of other websites under similar headlines.

The false report appears to play into baseless claims that Mr Obama is secretly a Muslim. He is a Christian and occasionally attended church near the White House during his term.

The report claims that Mr Trump reversed an Obama policy of working "to appease" Muslims at the White House by filling it with prayer rugs and crescent moon symbols closely associated with Islam.

It says Mr Trump is leaving only a simple cross in a White House chapel.

No prayer rugs or crescent moons were visibly displayed in public White House spaces or in top aides' offices when Mr Obama was president. There is no chapel in the White House.

The report also says the White House ordered silence five times a day for Muslim prayers, and that the Obama administration "defended the practice" by claiming it also observed a moment of silence for Christianity on Sunday mornings.

There were no recurring moments of silence for any religion in the Obama White House.

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