Obama Flashes Shahada Muslim Gang Sign – Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A photo shows President Obama flashing a Muslim gang sign called the “shahada” toward African leaders to show “affirmation” of his Islamic faith during a summit held in Washington, D.C.
President Obama is not flashing a shahada Muslim gang sign in a photo taken at the U.S.-African Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., in August of 2014.
The photo, taken by an Associated Press photographer, shows President Obama pointing his right index finger as he smirks and nods at an African representative behind him. A video clip of the exchange, however, shows the president jokingly wagging his finger and chuckling as he walks by the representative before a photo op.
As the eRumor claims, however, a single index finger extended on the right hand has been called the “tawhid”, and it is tied to the Shahada, a verbal profession of Islamic faith that goes, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
Foreign Affairs reports that the gesture alludes to the first part of the shahada, a key component of the Muslim religion:
“The tawhid comprises the first half of the shahada, which is an affirmation of faith, one of the five pillars of Islam, and a component of daily prayers: ‘There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.’”
“…Gestures — in particular ISIS’ index finger — should demand far more attention. They are an important means by which regional groups communicate their core messages to viewers down the street and observers thousands of miles away in Europe and the United States. To understand the ideologies such groups aim to export, one needs to understand the symbols they use.
“…For ISIS, the symbol is more sinister than a mere declaration of monotheistic beliefs. As Salafi jihadists, members of the group adhere to a fundamentalist interpretation of tawhid that rejects non-fundamentalist regimes as idolatrous. In other words, the concept of tawhid is central to ISIS’ violent and uncompromising posture toward its opponents, both in the Middle East and in the West.”
ISIS’s use of the tawhid has been compared to the fascist salute used by Hitler and his supporters that conveyed the power of National Socialism, the obedience of crowds, and Hitler’s own power in one simple gesture.
But even though ISIS has adopted the tawhid has as a “jihadi gang sign” of sorts, that doesn’t mean President Obama was captured displaying it at the U.S.-Africa summit in August of 2014. Extending the index finger is a common hand signal around the world, and video of the event appears to show the president jokingly wagging his finger at someone on stage with him.
The eRumor started in mid-February of 2015 when the American Thinker published an article under the headline, “Obama and the Muslim Gang Sign.” A number of blogs quickly picked up on the story, and within days it had gone viral.