NEW YORK – As a student at Harvard Law School,
Obama’s practice of wearing a gold band on his wedding-ring finger
puzzled his colleagues.
Now, newly published photographs of Obama from the 1980s
show that the ring Obama wore on his wedding-ring finger as an unmarried
student is the same ring Michelle Robinson put on his finger at the couple’s
wedding ceremony in 1992.
Moreover, according to Arabic-language and Islamic experts,
the ring Obama has been wearing for more than 30 years is adorned with the
first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, the Shahada: “There is no god
Sincere recitation of the Shahada is the sole requirement
for becoming a Muslim, as it expresses a person’s rejection of all other gods.
Egyptian-born Islamic scholar Mark A. Gabriel, Ph.D.,
examined photographs of Obama’s ring at WND’s request and concluded that the first
half of the Shahada is inscribed on it.
“There can be no doubt that someone wearing the inscription
‘There is no god except Allah’ has a very close connection to Islamic beliefs,
the Islamic religion and Islamic society to which this statement is so strongly
attached,” Gabriel told WND.
“Dreams from My Real Father”
producer Joel Gilbert, an Arabic speaker and an expert on the Middle East, was
the first to conclude that Obama’s ring, reportedly from Indonesia, bore an
As WND reported in July,
previously published photos have shown Obama wearing a gold band on his
wedding-ring finger continuously from 1981 at Occidental, through graduation at
Columbia in 1983, in a visit to Africa in 1988 and during his time at Harvard
from 1988 to 1991. But none, until now, have displayed the ring with enough
detail to identify it as the one he currently is wearing.
WND reported a
satirical edition of the Harvard Law Review published by students in 1990
contains a mock Dewers Scotch profile advertisement poking fun at Obama. Among
a list of Obama’s “Latest Accomplishments” is: “Deflecting Persistent
Questioning About Ring On Left Hand.”
The comment suggests the ring was a subject of student
curiosity at the time and that Obama was not forthcoming with an explanation.
He still has not explained why he wore the band on his wedding-ring
finger before he married Michelle.
Gabriel, born to Muslim parents in Upper Egypt, grew up
immersed in Islamic culture. He memorized the Quran at age of 12 and graduated
in 1990 with a Masters degree from the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the pre-eminent
Sunni Muslim institution of learning.
He explained that on Obama’s ring, the declaration “There is
no god except Allah” (La Ilaha Illallah) is inscribed in two sections, one
above the other.
On the upper section, “There is no god” is written in Arabic
letters, from right to left: Lam, Alif, Alif, Lam, Ha.
On the lower section is “except god,” written in Arabic
letters from right to left: Alif, Lam, Alif, Alif, Lam, Lam, Ha.
In the lower section, the word “Allah” is written partially
on top of the word “except,” noted Gabriel, the author of “Islam and Terrorism”
and “Journey Inside the Mind of an Islamic Terrorist.”
It is common in Islamic art and Arabic calligraphy,
especially when expressing Quranic messages on jewelry, to artfully place
letters on top of each other to fit them into the allotted space.
The exhibit below shows how the Arabic inscription fits over
the two parts of the Obama ring.
“There is no God except Allah” overlaid on Obama ring
In an interview
during the 2008 presidential campaign, New York Times columnist Nicholas
Kristof questioned Obama about his Islamic education in Indonesia, where he
lived from 1967 to 1971.
that he once got in trouble for making faces during Quran study classes in his
elementary school, Obama recited for Kristoff the opening lines of the Arabic
call to prayer, the Adhan.
incorporates the Shahada, the expression of Islamic faith, with each line
Allah is supreme!
Allah is supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet
Kristof noted Obama
recited the prayer in Arabic “with a first-rate accent.”
“In a remark that
seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr.
Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at
sunset,’” Kristoff wrote.
Joel Gilbert has
produced a short video on his view of the ring:
Gabriel told WND
that a person wearing a ring with “There is no god except Allah” demonstrates
the significance of Islam in his
use the statement,” he pointed out. “By wearing the Shahada on jewelry, a
person communicates that Allah is in control of all circumstances. Allah
controls you; Allah is the one and only one.”
Obama, who attended
Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of
Christ in Chicagofor two
decades, has repeatedly insisted he is a Christian.
Obama's hand in a White House photo
‘Blessed statement in Islam’
the importance of the Shahada in the profession of faith in Islam.
“Muslims recite the
Shahada when they wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep at night,”
he said. “It is repeated five times every day in the call to prayer in every
mosque. A single honest recitation of the Shahada in Arabic is all that is
required for a person to convert to Islam.”
Gabriel believes it
would be impossible for Obama not to be aware of what is written on the ring,
calling it a “blessed statement in Islam.”
“By wearing this
religious statement on one’s hand, it connects the person to Islam,” he said.
“It is worn in hopes that Allah’s protections would be with the person, in
hopes of gaining favor with Allah.”
He affirmed that
Muslim men do wear gold rings, despite prohibitions in Islamic law.
“Though Islamic law
prohibits the wearing of gold jewelry by men, it is a widely accepted custom,
even in strictly Muslim countries,” he said. “The wearing of gold rings is even
more acceptable when it contains a religious message, such as ‘There is no god
He noted there is
also widespread acceptance of men wearing gold jewelry in non-Arab Islamic
societies such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan, where Muslims
generally understand that Muslims are subject to strong influences of local
though technically prohibited, a Muslim man wearing a gold ring is not looked
down upon, especially if the jewelry reflects a love of Islam and a connection
to Islamic society,” he said. “An even greater level of acceptance is for
businessmen who deal with infidels, because such a person would be regarded as
a person of influence.”
“Now we have a new
context for what Obama meant when he told the Islamic audience in Cairo that he
has ‘known Islam on three continents,” Gilbert said. “He also told the Cairo
audience that he considered it part of his responsibility as president of the
United States ‘to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they
appear.’ All religious Muslims are by definition required to defend Islam.”
recent documentary films on the Middle East are “Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran
and The Revolt of Islam” and “Atomic Jihad: Ahmadinejad’s Coming War and
Obama’s Politics of Defeat”
Obama in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009
Obama in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009, close-up
The Occidental ring
published last week by New Yorker magazine indicate Obama was wearing the ring
at Occidental College.
One photo shows
Obama sitting alongside Occidental roommate Hasan Chandoo in 1981, apparently
waiting for a meal to be served.
Barack Obama and roommate Hasan Chandoo at Occidental College in 1981 (Tom
Grauman, New Yorker magazine)
left hand clearly shows the ring, as seen below.
(Tom Grauman, New Yorker magazine)
The second of the
recently released photos shows Obama reaching for a book from an Occidental
College library shelf.
Barack Obama in Occidental College library in 1981 (Tom Grauman, New Yorker
A close-up of the
library photo can be seen below.
Detail of Barack Obama ring in Occidental College library in 1981 (Tom
Grauman, New Yorker magazine)
In the above photo,
the ring’s design can be seen, including a series of parallel bars that
distinguish its outer circumference.
In the story, Jodi
Kantor described its “intricate gold design,” noting it came from Barack Obama’s
boyhood home of Indonesia and was not traditional, like Michelle’s.
Just before the Rev.
Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. pronounced Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson man and
wife on the evening of Oct. 3, 1992, he held their wedding rings – signifying
their new, enduring bonds – before the guests at Trinity United Church of
Christ. Michelle’s was traditional, but Barack’s was an intricate gold design
from Indonesia, where he had lived as a boy.
There was no mention
in the article that Obama already had been wearing the ring for more than a
The photos of the
ring from the 1980s can be compared with more recent photos, such as the ones published by the Huffington
Post in 2010 in an article by Anya Strzemien, “Obama’s ‘Intricate’
Indonesian Wedding Band: A CLOSE-UP,” seen here.
Obama wedding ring, Huffington Post, March 18, 2010
Obama wedding ring, Huffington Post, March 18, 2010
was an advocate for the ONE Campaign, and married to Barack Obama.
Barack Obama is
married to Michelle Obama, the president for the Barack Obama
administration, was the candidate for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential
campaign, and a parishioner at the Trinity United Church of Christ
first book analyzing the Nation of Islamwas The Black Muslims in America
(1961) by C. Eric Lincoln. Lincoln describes the use of doctrines during
the minister reads passages from well-known historical, sociological, or
anthropological works, and finds in them inconspicuous references to the black
man's true history in the world.... Occasionally the minister chides the
audience for its skepticism: "I know you don't believe me because I happen
to be a black man. Well, you can look it up in a book I'm going to tell you
about that was written by a white man." He then reads off references that
his hearers are challenged to check.
recent years, the embrace of Dianetics under Farrakhan has drawn much criticism that
the Nation of Islam is becoming too close to the Church of Scientology and the ideas of its founder L. Ron Hubbard,
whom Farrakhan has said he respects. Farrakhan has praised Hubbard, saying he
was "exceedingly valuable to every Caucasian person on this Earth".
Of followers of Scientology, he stated "You can still be a Christian; you
just won't be a devil Christian. You'll still be a Jew, but you won't be a
Inc. is the lobby firm for the Church of Scientology, and the Open
Society Policy Center.
Gara LaMarche is
a director at the Open Society Policy Center, was the VP & director
of U.S. programs for the Open Society Foundations, an associate director
for the Human Rights Watch, and a director at the White House Project.
"Aristotle the Hun" was the name given to me more than 30 years ago when a friend noticed that in spite of my intellect I was still an Iowa farm boy.
Rev. Sam Sewell, is Director of Best Self USA, a Pastoral Psychotherapist, serves on the faculty of Naples Community Hospital as an instructor for Clinical Pastoral Education, President of the Theological Center in Naples, a member of Mensa where he serves as Gifted Youth Coordinator, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He is a frequent commentator on mental health and religious issues.His award winning research on family issues is published in several languages. Member of Sigma Delta Chi Honor Society
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