As debate continues over the claim that President Obama’s wedding ring is inscribed with the Muslim declaration of faith, more analysis is coming from the Middle East.
Staffers in Jordan with William J. Murray’s Religious Freedom Coalition also believe the ring, which Obama wore on his wedding-ring finger for at least a decade before he married Michelle Robinson, pays homage to Allah.
“I sent the photographs to my office in Amman,” Murray wrote WND in an email. “This is the response: Yes, it is the Shahada, and the second part of the profession of faith is probably inscribed inside the ring.”
The Amman staffers said they have seen other rings like it.
Egyptian-born Islamic scholar Mark A. Gabriel, Ph,D., as well as a native-Arabic speaker employed by WND who has provided translations of critical Arabic statements, believe the ring is Islamic. A Duke professor interviewed by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com news service also confirmed their conclusion.
Filmmaker Joel Gilbert has issued a detailed analysis he prepared with the assistance of Yousef Shehadeh, a native Arabic speaker from Nazareth who studied Arabic for 13 years in the Holy Land and now works as a graphic artist in Los Angeles.
Gilbert, who has studied Arabic himself, told WND he sent close-up photographs of the ring to Shehadeh “cold,” without offering any opinion, and asked him to evaluate them.
Shehadeh replied to Gilbert that the script on Obama’s ring is Arabic, and it is the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith.
The WND story was picked up today by the Saudi-owned paper Al-Arabiya.
The Huffington Post photographs
Some bloggers who are skeptical that the Obama ring is Islamic have questioned the authenticity of photos used in the analysis in the original WND story Wednesday.
A “computer software and graphics expert” cited by the blog ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com contends computer-imaging software was used to deepen shadows to make details in the lighted areas “look more like an Arabic letter rather than a squiggly design.”
Gilbert, who was first to conclude that the ring bears the Islamic declaration of faith, the Shahada, explained that the only adjustment he made to images from a 2010 Huffington Post feature was to reduce the contrast about 50 percent. His aim was to enable the detail in the ring to be seen without being overwhelmed by the background light.
The Huffington Post photographs were published in a March 18, 2010, article by Anya Strzemien, “Obama’s ‘Intricate’ Indonesian Wedding Band: A CLOSE-UP.”
A comparison of Exhibits 1 and 2 with the original Huffington Post article shows the photos, as presented in Gilbert’s analysis, were not altered, Gilbert contends.
ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com’s unnamed “computer software and graphics expert” concludes, however, “This is a major hoax in my opinion.”
The source pointed to a graphic analysis prepared by Gilbert that was posted on the website for his documentary film on Obama, “Dreams from My Real Father.”
But Gilbert insists he “made no alteration whatsoever” to the pattern on the ring.
The ring image in the lower left corner of his graphic, marked “Original,” he said, is the image found in the Huffington Post article, “with no computer manipulation done on the image of the ring itself.”
To demonstrate how the Arabic script letters fit over the unaltered Huffington Post photograph, Gilbert produced Exhibit 4.
He argues that while the original Huffington Post photograph loses some resolution on being enlarged, the details of the engraving remain clear, as does the fit between the letters engraved on the ring and Gilbert’s overlaid Arabic script.