Muslims Are Meeting to Pray on the U.S. Capitol Steps on September 25, 2009-Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
A forwarded eRumor warning that Muslims will be gathering at the steps in front of the the US Capitol Building in Washington DC on September 25, 2009. The email goes on to say that 50,000 are expected to attend to pray for 15 hours and that the organizers got their inspiration from President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Egypt where he said the United States was no longer a Christian Nation. The eRumor also asks, “Do you think Christians would be allowed to do an event like this?”
The prayer event is real and will take place on the steps of the US Capitol Building in Washington DC on September 25, 2009. The event is being called Jummah Prayer on Capitol Hill. The official website is: http://www.islamoncapitolhill.com
According to a September 14, 2009 World Bulletin article, Organizers have considered the Jummah Prayer on Capital Hill as a Day of Islamic Unity.” The main organizer, Hassen Abdellah, expects 50,000 people of all faiths to be in attendance and told reporters that the event will solely consist of prayer, readings from the Koran and will not include political speeches or placards.
The eRumor makes it appear that this approval of a Muslim prayer event on the Capitol steps is something favorable to Muslims that would not be granted to Christians. Use of the US Capitol for religious events is not uncommon and a variety of events at the Capitol Steps are allowed as long as the permit applications are submitted and the guidelines are strictly followed.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, in his book “Rediscovering God in America” said that Thomas Jefferson, author of the famous “the wall of separation of Church and State,” was the first U.S. President to allow the public use of the Capitol building religiously—and it was for church services. Gingrich also wrote that In 1952 Congress issued a joint resolution calling for a prayer service on the Capitol steps which was led in the pouring rain by Rev. Billy Graham. The event was attended by thousands of people which prompted the 1953 construction of a Congressional Chapel on the federal premises which today is only open to members of Congress and invited guests.
Recent religious events at the Capitol steps include the 58th annual National Day of Prayer observance on May 7, 2009 which included a Bible reading marathon. 90 continuous hours of reading from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation has taken place on the Capitol steps every year since 1979. The Promise Keeper Organization of Christian Men also have met at the Capitol steps to pray.
President Obama has taken a lot of hits for a statement he made in his 2009 trip to Turkey. Critics of the president have said that he declared the United States “no longer a Christian nation” and that he said that the U.S. was a “Moslem nation.”
His exact remark was, “I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is…that although we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation we consider ourselves a nation of citizens.”
Critics of the president considered his remarks a rejection of the long-held belief that America is a Christian nation. Supporters pointed out that he wasn’t discounting Christianity or elevating Islam. He was emphasizing the unity of a country of diverse citizens with diverse faiths.
The president’s statement echoed his belief when Obama was an Illinois State Senator he was the keynote speaker at the “Building a Covenant for A New America” conference sponsored by a group called the “Call to Renewal.” He told attendees that the United States is no longer a Christian nation but a nation of citizens with different beliefs. President Obama also said this on a 2009 trip to Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Prayer Day at the White House–Fiction!
Another version of this eRumor began circulating in December of 2009 saying that the Islamic Day of Prayer was at the White House. It also included a picture of the President removing his shoes in apparent preparation for prayer. This Islamic prayer gathering, as we reported above, did not take place at the White House and the picture had nothing to do with that event. The photo was taken when President Obama toured a mosque in Turkey during his April 2009 tour.
There are several eRumors about President Obama being a Muslim and we have findings posted at this link: Click here.