Does Barack Obama's Ring Depict an Arabic Saying?

A Fact Check

Barack Obama Campaigns In Reno, Nevada
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Contrary to Internet rumors, President Barack Obama's gold wedding ring does not feature the Muslim saying "No God but Allah" in Arabic script. It bears no visible inscription at all; rather, it is an abstract design.

Does the Ring Indicate Obama Is a Muslim?

Such a claim might apparently confirm long-standing rumors that Barack Obama is not a Christian but rather a Muslim. The alleged phrase that's claimed to be in the ring’s design is part of the shahada, the First Pillar of Islam and the declaration of belief that followers of Islam must abide by in order to be counted as Muslims. The second part of the shahada is “Muhammad is the prophet of God.” The rumor also makes the assertion that the president has been wearing the ring, which seemingly now is also his wedding band, for the past 30 years, dating back to his days at Harvard. It would incongruous, though, for Obama to deny that allegation while opening wearing and flaunting a symbol in support of those rumors.

Photo Fakery With Obama's Ring

In the viral illustration, someone worked very diligently to make it appear as though certain Arabic characters match certain lines and shadows on the face of Obama's ring. But the alleged correspondence isn't just forced, it's utterly reliant on the defects of the fuzzy, low-resolution images used.

Compare those to the high-res close-up, in which you'll see nothing remotely resembling Arabic calligraphy, just abstract shapes. Albeit worn and damaged, the serpentine pattern in the upper half of the design mirrors that in the lower half. (More close-up views of the ring, showing other parts of it as well as the area supposedly containing Arabic writing, are available here and here.)

If there's any inscription on the ring at all (not that there's any evidence to suggest there's one to be found), it would have to be on the inner surface where it's hidden from view.

Arabic Translation Of the Ring's Inscription

The Digital Journal took further steps to dispel the rumors by using three translation services --  "Translation Babylon," "Translate Google" and "Translation Services USA" -- to look up the English to Arabic translation of the phrase "No God but Allah." When compared to the high-resolution image taken in 2009, the Arabic symbols found searching the three translation services did not match the ring.