A report circulating online claims that President Obama has proclaimed December 2015 to be “National Muslim Appreciation Month.”
The story is fake.
This is the third year in a row we have seen this false story circulate online in increasingly heavy volume. In 2013 and 2014, the month of choice was said to be November, while in 2015 the false report claims it is December.
The article from which this claim originated was published on the “satirical” website National Report back in September 2013. It resurfaced in 2014, and again in a slightly different form in 2015. Despite its outrageous headline, even a cursory glance of the article’s content should be sufficient proof of satire to most readers:
Obama informed reporters about his future plans for helping Muslims around the world. “I will be working with Congress in making it easier for Muslims to earn a Green Card and achieve American citizenship,” Obama said. “Currently as it stands, obtaining a Visa or Green Card for a Muslim is very difficult. There are too many background checks in place and I plan to fix that.”
The report ends with a “hotline” phone number which can supposedly be reached for any additional questions. The number given, however, actually belongs to the controversial Westboro Baptist Church.
Despite the somewhat humorous nature of the original report – and the website in general – the story was heavily circulated by readers apparently unaware of its farcical nature.
Although the “satire” version in 2013 and 2014 raised eyebrows, the current incarnation has shed all semblance of satire and appeared on fake news sites which seem to be attempting to gain traffic and social media likes from the outrage of the story. The new version seems to have been mostly re-written, although it still contains the old Westboro phone number at the end.
On version can be found on a fake FoxNews website (foxnews.com.hk, which is clearly not FoxNews). That version reads:
President Barack Obama held a press conference today to announce his decision which will make the month of December ‘National Muslim Appreciation Month’.
“The Muslim community deserves our full acceptance and respect,” Obama told reporters. “We have disrespected these innocent and peaceful people in so many ways. We have killed millions of Muslims overseas since the September 11th attacks. They are not all bad. In fact most of them are good. So from now on, December will be a month to celebrate the Muslim people, the Sunnah and the Quran.”
If you visit that site, you’ll note that the stories listed on the side bar aren’t even real. Clicking those headlines lead you to placeholder stories with nothing but gibberish text.
The same fake story can be found on a number of other sites, some of which have rather angry discussion in the comments by readers who are apparently unaware that the story is complete fiction.
Further confusing the history of this hoax is that the original National Report article is no longer there. You can still see an archived snapshot of the page at the Internet Archive.
President Obama did not declare December 2015 to be “National Muslim Appreciation Month.” The fake report originated from a satirical website in 2013 and saw a resurgence in social media sharing in 2014. In 2015 a variation of the story was circulated on a number of fake news websites.
Updated November 19, 2015
Originally published September 2013