The notion that President Obama ceased sporting a wedding band and wristwatch in observance of a supposed proscription against wearing jewelry during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is one that can be definitively debunked on many levels. To wit:
- Barack Obama is not a Muslim and therefore does not observe Ramadan.
- Islam has no general prohibition against Muslims’ wearing jewelry during the month of Ramadan.
- This item references President Obama’s alleged jewelry-free state during Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar) in 2010, a period falling between 11 August and 9 September on the Gregorian calendar that year. But President Obama was only spotted without his wedding band (because, according to the White House, it had been sent out for repair) for a few days in mid-September 2010, at the very end of Ramadan. If President Obama had truly removed his wedding band as part of a Ramadan observance, he would had to have shed it in mid-August and refrained from wearing it for four full weeks afterwards.
- Pictures from the brief period when President Obama was without his wedding ring show that he was nonetheless still wearing a watch on his left wrist:
- Although President Obama is not a frequent public church-goer (due to his “concern that his presence and the exhaustive security precautions required before and during the worship could prove disruptive for other congregants”), the claim that he “hasn’t gone to a Christian church service since entering the White House” is false. The Obamas have attended public church services in Washington on several occasions (see, for example, “Obama Picks Episcopal Church for Easter,” “Obama and Family Attend Church Service“, and “The Obamas Attend D.C. Church Easter Sunday“).
- The suggestion that the Obamas spent their Christmas vacation in Hawaii so that President Obama could avoid scrutiny for not attending church is also false. In fact, the Obamas attended (and were photographed at) services on 26 December 2010 at a Hawaiian Marine Corps Base.
Update: In August 2011 the claim that President Obama was not wearing his watch or wedding ring in observance of Ramadan was circulated anew. Ramadan in 2011 lasted from 1 August to 29 August, yet photographs from that period clearly show the President wearing both his wedding ring and his watch (e.g., the fifth photo in the six-photo CBS Boston spread of his vacation, which was taken on 19 August 2011):
Miller, Sunlen. “Where’s Obama’s Wedding Band? Getting Repaired.”
ABCNews.com. 10 September 2010.
Schwandt, Kimberly. “President Obama Attends Contemporary Church Service in Hawaii.”
FOXNews.com. 26 December 2010.
“Obamas Attend Church During Hawaii Vacation.”
Agence France Presse. 26 December 2010.
“Where’s Your Wedding Ring, Mr President?”
Daily Mail. 11 September 2010.