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November Surprise


Claim:   President Obama has announced a nationwide Muslim outreach program for children from grades K-12.

FALSE

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2014]

Is this true?

Obama Administration Announces Nationwide Muslim Outreach Program For Children Grades K-12

Washington, DC — At a press conference today, President Obama announced plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program.
 

Origins:   On 27 September 2013, the National Report published an article ("Obama Declares November National Muslim Appreciation Month") positing that President Obama had proclaimed November 2013 to be National Muslim Appreciation Month, a time to "celebrate the Muslim community" in the United States:
President Barack Obama held a press conference to announce that he is declaring the month of November 'National Muslim Appreciation Month'.

"The Muslim community deserves our full acceptance and respect," Obama told reporters. "We have killed millions of Muslims overseas since the September 11th attacks. They are not all bad. In fact most of them are good. So from now on, November will be a month to celebrate the Muslim community, the Sunnah and the Quran."
By the following day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, the article was just a bit of satire from the National Report, a web site that publishes outrageous fictional stories such as "IRS Plans to Target Leprechauns Next," "Boy Scouts Announce Boobs Merit Badge," and "New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples."

The National Report's (since removed) disclaimer page notes that all of the articles are fiction:
National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.
In February 2014, new life was breathed into this satirical concept when the Conservative Frontline web site lifted sections of the original National Report article and spun them into a (similarly fictional) report positing that President Obama had announced "plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program" targeted at American schoolchildren:
At a press conference today, President Obama announced plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program. The program will be available nationwide for all elementary school students grade K-12 beginning February 1st, 2014. The program is designed to educate children about the fundamentals of the Muslim religion and Islamic belief.

President Obama spoke with reporters to explain why it is so important that these outreach programs exist. "The Muslim community deserves our full understanding and respect," Obama said. "We have killed millions of Muslims overseas since the September 11th attacks. These folks are not all bad. In fact, most of them are hardworking citizens just like you and me. I encourage every student in America to participate in your school's Muslim outreach program. Learn about the Muslim community, the beauty of the Sunnah and the magic of the Qur'an."
The phone number given at the end of the National Report article for contacting the "24-hour National Muslim Appreciation Hotline" actually belongs to the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. The phone number listed in the Conservative Frontline piece for the "Nationwide Muslim Youth Outreach Hotline" is in fact the phone number for the Republican National Committee.
 


Last updated:   3 June 2014

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