Fact check: Obama not standing in front of “Muslim prayer curtain” in White House

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks to members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the East Room at the White House in Washington January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A popular photograph on social media shows former U.S. President Barack Obama alongside former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. The other presidents are pictured in front of U.S. flags, while Obama is in front of yellow drapery labelled a “Muslim prayer curtain”. There is no such thing as a “Muslim prayer curtain”, and the implication that Obama did not want to stand in front of U.S. flags during his presidency, or that he may have replaced U.S. flags with a “Muslim prayer curtain”, is untrue.

One example of the claim from 2015 nearing half a million shares is visible here . Recent examples of the post being shared can be seen here , here , and here .

Many observant Muslims enjoin five times daily in salat, a ritual prayer ( ). To cover the bare ground or floor while they pray, many Muslims use a prayer rug, or sajjada, which is often decorated with religious symbols ( here ). There is no such thing as a “Muslim prayer curtain”. In the post, the gold-colored curtain behind Obama shows no markings, Arabic text or religious symbols.

Similar drapery was seen in the Oval Office before the Obama administration, ( here ) and has been visible throughout the Trump administration ( here ; here ).

Obama has also been pictured standing in front of U.S. flags and the gold-colored curtains in the East Room of the White House ( here ). Other examples of the former President standing in front of U.S. flags are visible and .

The gold curtains have been in the White House for decades ( here ).


False. Obama did not replace American flags in the White House with a “Muslim prayer curtain”. The golden drapery has been in the White House for decades.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here  .