Hoaxes & Rumors

Is President Obama Reading A Muslim Book Called The Post-American World?

Is President Obama Reading A Muslim Book Called The Post-American World?
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A photo of President Obama is being circulated with claims that he is holding a pro-Muslim book. Are the photo and story true?

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The photo is real, but the description is not.

It should be noted that this photo and story have circulated for several years now. First let’s take a look at one of the captions being included with the photo in 2012:

THIS PHOTO SHOULD STUN AND SADDEN ALL AMERICANS! THE BOOK HE IS HOLDING IS CALLED THE POST- AMERICAN WORLD…WRITTEN BY A MUSLIM, FOR THOSE WHO DONT KNOW POST MEANS THE WORLD AFTER AMERICA AS WE NOW KNOW IT!!!!! PLEASE SHARE THE HELL OUT OF THIS!!!!

The Photo

Now let’s take a look at the elements of this photo and description:

This photo was taken back in May of 2008 in Montana, months before Barack Obama beat John McCain for the Presidency. The book had just been published and was #2 on the New York Times best seller list at that time.

The Author

Fareed Zakaria is an Indian-American with a PhD in political science from Harvard University. He has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and CNN, among others. Zakaraia is a well-respected expert on United States foreign policy, and is often described as a centrist. He has written at least two New York Times best sellers. The description being circulated about the Obama photo implies that Zakaria is an anti-American Muslim, which is inaccurate. Read more on his Wikipedia page.

The Book

The Post-American World was published in May 2008 (around the same time that the photo was taken). It was published to generally positive reviews and praised for its optimistic tone. A general synopsis of the book reads, “The first chapter introduces the thesis of the book: that a ‘post-American’ world order is emerging in which the United States of America will continue to be the most powerful nation but its relative power will be diminished.”

Bottom Line

This is the case of someone taking a real photo and bastardizing the story behind it. It’s likely that many politicians on both sides of the aisle read this book, which was a best seller written by a well-respected Harvard graduate.

Updated January 2, 2015
Originally published November 2012

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