Did Obama Say ‘Muslims Built the Fabric of Our Nation’?

Breitbart, not President Obama, said that 'Muslims built the very fabric of our nation'

  • Published 7 March 2015

Claim

President Obama said that "Muslims built the very fabric of our nation."

Rating

What's True

President Obama made reference to the "achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy."

What's False

President Obama did not literally say that "Muslims built the very fabric of our nation."

Origin

On 28 July 2014, Breitbart published an article under the headline “Obama: Muslims Built ‘The Very Fabric of Our Nation” that referenced a 27 July 2014 statement issued by the White House on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr (which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan).

That headline subsequently circulated on social media and was widely accepted as a direct quote from President Obama:

However, the President’s complete remarks, in context, were posted to the White House’s web site and revealed a different substance than the misleading Breitbart headline that was widely circulated online:

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families. This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate. While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration. Eid Mubarak.

The Breitbart headline omitted that the President’s statement specifically referenced Muslim Americans, not Muslims in general. As well, the headline’s omission of Obama’s use of the word “contributions” by Muslim Americans deliberately fostered the misleading impression that the President had contended Muslims alone (or Muslims primarily) were responsible for creating “the very fabric of our nation” (rather than merely being one of many groups who played a part in the process).

Finally, Breitbart’s substitution of “built” for “building” in the headline also led many readers to wrongly believe that President Obama had asserted Muslims had been making vital contributions to guiding the United States since the country’s inception, when the context of his statement made it clear he was recognizing the modern ongoing contributions (not historical ones) of Muslim Americans (not all Muslims in general) to “building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.”