Fact Check

Don't You Dare Try and Paint All of Islam With the Same Brush

Did President Obama throw a tantrum and tell senior Pentagon officials 'don't you dare paint all of Islam with the same brush' during an ISIS briefing?'

Published Dec 15, 2014

Claim:   President Obama angrily said "don't you dare paint all of Islam with the same brush" after becoming agitated that ISIS and Islam had been conflated.


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

Obama snaps at U.S. military brass..........

If you fail to pass this one on, there's something wrong ... somewhere.

In a fit of rage, Obama snaps at U.S. military brass: "Don't you dare try and paint all of Islam with the same brush"

Showing his Muslim stripes, Obama threw a hissy fit and stomped out of a Pentagon meeting about the bombing campaign against ISIS over remarks allegedly tying the Islamic State ( ISIS ) to Islam.


Origins:   On 26 September 2014, an internet rumor began to circulate claiming President Obama threw a "tantrum" or "hissy fit" during a meeting with senior Pentagon officials. The claim spread widely, and all versions indicate the President specifically stated "don't you dare paint all of Islam with the same brush."

The reach of the rumor involving Obama's purported outburst at Camp David is large, but all iterations stem back to a single account lacking any verification. The claim is made without even a vaguely-identified source such as a person present at the meeting, an anonymous staffer, or a journalist party to the discussion:

This outburst reportedly took place in the afternoon of last week just prior to the president's departure to Camp David. It was an informal briefing on the expanded bombing campaigns to take place in both Syria and Iraq. Halfway through the already very brief briefing, President Obama stood up clearly agitated, and walked out of the room ...

The casually dressed Obama returned to the briefing moments later with a senior adviser alongside him, though his mood continued to indicate he was still very upset.

The account states that President Obama left the room in implied disgust twice before returning with the unnamed "senior advisor." It continued:

Within seconds, Barack Obama returned again to the just concluded briefing, pointing at the still seated Pentagon staff and indicating how "inappropriate" it was to "try and paint all of Islam with the same brush." The president repeated similar remarks, his mood going from agitation to outrage. His voice carried to several other West Wing offices.

Notably, the claim conflicts with itself in parts. In one portion, Obama is quoted saying "don't you dare paint all of Islam with the same brush." In another, he says it's "inappropriate" to "try and paint all of Islam with the same brush." According to the account, "news of the outburst reached senior Pentagon officials" who had "no reaction" to the purported incident.

In addition to lacking corroboration anywhere, the rumor is rooted in the belief President Obama became frustrated that ISIS and Islam had been "tied" together. However, ISIS, ISIL, and IS are all name variations of "Islamic State." It beggars belief President Obama remained shielded from this similarity in nomenclature until he sat down with military officials in September 2014.

Though widespread, there's no evidence to suggest President Obama uttered the phrase in question. Obama has addressed the press and the nation on numerous occasions regarding the matter of ISIS or ISIL and hasn't become "agitated" or hinted at irritation over the "Islamic" part of "Islamic State."

Last updated:   21 October 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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