Did Obama Give Syria $195 Million to Celebrate a Muslim Holiday?

The White House announced in 2013 that the U.S. would provide an additional $195 million for food and humanitarian aide to Syria, not for the celebration of a Muslim holiday.

  • Published 17 December 2015

Claim

President Obama gave Syria $195 million to celebrate a Muslim holiday.

Did Obama give 195 million dollars to Syria in honor of a Muslim holiday?

Collected via e-mail, December 2015

Rating

What's True

The U.S. provided $195 million in food and humanitarian aid to Syria in 2013.

What's False

The U.S. gave Syria $195 million in 2015 for the celebration of a Muslim holiday.

Origin

On 15 December 2015, the disreuptable American News web site recycled an old article claiming that President Obama had given $195 million to Syria in honor of a Muslim Holiday:

Facebook

The Facebook post shown above redirected users to an article originally published by American News a year and half earlier, on 6 July 2014:

According to recent reports, President Obama has decided to give 195 million taxpayer dollars to Syria to celebrate the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr.

Once again it appears Obama is unilaterally deciding what is best for the United States. What do you think? Are there better ways to spend American tax dollars?

Although the American News article accurately quoted an official White House press release, its reposting in December 2015 deliberately misled readers into believing the release’s contents were current news. In fact President Obama’s announcement that the United States would be providing additional humanitarian aid to Syria has been issued over two years earlier, on 7 August 2013:

Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr here in the United States and around the world. During the past month, Muslims have honored their faith through prayer and service, fasting and time spent with loved ones. At this year’s White House Iftar, I was proud to spend time with some of the many American Muslims whose contributions enrich our democracy and strengthen our economy. Many of us have had the opportunity to break fast with our Muslim friends and colleagues — a tradition that reminds us to be grateful for our blessings and to show compassion to the less fortunate among us, including millions of Syrians who spent Ramadan displaced from their homes, their families, and their loved ones.

To help the many Syrians in need this Eid al-Fitr, the United States is providing an additional $195 million in food aid and other humanitarian aid, bringing our humanitarian contribution to the Syrian people to over $1 billion since the crisis began. For millions of Americans, Eid is part of a great tapestry of America’s many traditions, and I wish all Muslims a blessed and joyful celebration.

It should also be noted that the United States did not give $195 million in cash to Syria simply to allow them to celebrate a Muslim holiday. The $195 million came in the form of food and other humanitarian aid and was intended to provide needed relief to citizens experiencing hardship and suffering in that war-torn country; the announcement was merely timely in that it coincided with the beginning of the important Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that year.

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