FACT CHECK:   Did President Obama order the Empire State Building to be illuminated green in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan?

Claim:   President Obama ordered the Empire State Building to be illuminated green in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

   MIXTURE

WHAT’S TRUE: The Empire State Building was illuminated green in celebration of Eid al-Fitr.

WHAT’S FALSE: President Obama did not order the Empire State Building to be illuminated for Eid al-Fitr.

Example:     [Collected via e-mail, July 2015]

Did Obama order the Empire State Building to be green for EID?

Origins:    The Empire State Building is illuminated in a variety of colors throughout the year to celebrate various holidays and other significant events. On 17 July 2015, the Empire State Building (ESB) turned green to mark Eid al-Fitr, the “festival of breaking of the fast” that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan:

While this annual lighting event was viewed by most as an innocuous occurrence, some critics declared that the Empire State Building was “submitting” to Islam by honoring Eid al-Fitr, while others insisted that the iconic landmark had been forced by President Obama to honor “radical” Muslims:

In 2001, Islamic terrorists took down the Twin Towers. Now, in Obama’s America 2015, their colors shine proudly from one of the most important buildings in the world.

The amount of disrespect for the Marines just murdered by an Islamic terrorist is truly saddening. It’s hard to imagine this is even real life.

An Empire State Building spokesman said that the building has been lit green for Eid al-Fitr “for several years now” (since at least 2007) and described the event as “an annual lighting.”

Furthermore, the privately-owned building is lit up for several other religious holidays throughout the year. For Christmas it is lit red and green, and for Hanukkah it is lit blue and white. The ESB does accept lighting requests, but not for political or personal events:

The international icon of the New York skyline, since 1976 the Empire State Building’s tower lights have maintained a tradition of changing color to recognize various occasions and organizations throughout the year.

Everything changed in 2012, when ownership installed a new computer driven LED light system. The system is capable of displaying 16 million colors, which can change instantaneously.

While it’s true that the Empire State Building was lit green in honor of Eid al-Fitr, that event merely recognized the millions of people around the world and in the United States who celebrate Ramadan; it wasn’t something implemented at the behest of President Obama.

Last updated:      23 July 2015

Originally published:    23 July 2015