On 2 December 2016, a “satirical” site — which contains a disclaimer buried deep on its “About Us” page — posted a hoax story (“Obama Crushed After Trump Orders White House to Stop His Sickest Tradition”) that reported outgoing United States President Barack Obama was seen storming out of the White House because of the cancellation of one of his most “secretive rituals.”
According to the article, Obama secretly ordered White House staff to order silence in the building during the five daily Muslim prayers, collectively known as the Salat or Salah. The story also accuses Obama of making prayer rugs available in order to make Muslims more comfortable. However, it says, President-elect Donald Trump put a stop to the practice and ordered “all pagan symbols” to be removed from the property:
Obama was seen storming away from the West Wing after staffers from Donald Trump’s transition team began preparing the Executive offices for the new administration. On Trump’s orders, one of Obama’s most secretive rituals is being reversed and all signs of it removed from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
To further its spurious claim, this story features a photo of Muslim men in prayer, suggesting that it was taken as part of this “secret” ritual. The picture was taken at the White House — by attorney Qasim Rashid — but the prayer was actually part of a special event in July 2016:
Re-sharing historic picture of Imam Azhar Haneef of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leading prayer in White House pic.twitter.com/QPEKJ7tvyR
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) July 23, 2016
The allegation about the prayer rug is similar to a thoroughly debunked claim that Obama had a “Muslim prayer curtain” put in the White House. Obama has also been (falsely) accused of “enforcing” Islamic prayers on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, and cancelling the National Day of Prayer.
The site presents itself as a conservative-oriented news site, failing to mention its hard-to-find disclaimer:
The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.
BBC. “Salat: daily prayers.” bbc.co.uk. 08 September 2009.
@MuslimIQ. “Re-sharing historic picture of Imam Azhar Haneef of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leading prayer in White House.” Twitter. 23 July 2016.
News desk. “Ahmadi man gives call to prayer at White House.” The Express Tribune. 22 July 2016.