The “Obama is a secret Muslim” theory, a favorite of right-wing aunts and uncles across America, has been around since the early days of the 2008 election. And while it never really went away, it’s certainly been placed on the back burner due the approaching end of Obama’s reign as Commander-in-Chief.
However, according to the Washington Post, there’s one unlikely place where the theory seems to be more popular than ever: The Middle East.
According to the Post, the theory is gaining traction with some Sunni Muslims who have managed to put their own spin on an old favorite.
Specifically, in light of Obama’s effort to improve U.S. relations with Iran, the updated theory holds that Obama is specifically a secret Shiite Muslim who seeks to improve the standing of countries with majority Shia populations (Iran, Iraq, etc.) at the expense of predominately Sunni nations (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.). As such, Obama’s efforts at improving U.S.-Iranian relations are nothing more than an attempt to tip the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of his Shia brethren.
Unfortunately for Obama, the theory itself is not confined to the fringes. As the Post points out, a prominent security official in Dubai sarcastically tweeted out “Mission accomplished” in regard to the recent U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal, which has been heavily criticized by many Sunni politicians, claiming Obama’s “Shiite roots” were to blame. Here’s the tweet (which you probably can’t read, so let’s take the Post’s word for it).
أوباما الذي يعود لأصول شيعية انتخب لتقريب وجهات النظر بين إيران وأمريكا لإيقاف برنامج إيران النووي العسكري.نجحت الخطة .— ضاحي خلفان تميم (@Dhahi_Khalfan) January 19, 2016
And surprisingly enough, some Shiite Muslims have also subscribed to the theory, including an a former Iraqi parliamentarian who publicly speculated that Obama’s “Shiite background” was fostering better relations between the U.S. and Iran.
Of course, there is ample evidence against the “Obama is a secret Shiite Muslim” theory, (my personal favorites being that he’s a liberal democrat who supports gay marriage, and the fact that ISIS has flourished while he’s been in office). But as with the traditional “secret Muslim” theory that spread in the U.S., people who want to believe aren’t going to be swayed. And with Sunni and Shiite forces fighting a proxy war in countries like Syria and Yemen, the fact that Obama is viewed by some as a “secret agent” makes it much harder for him to act as an honest broker.
(Source: The Washington Post)