The "Obama is a Muslim" conspiracy theory is still reverberating in the Middle East

The evidence in favor of Obama being a Shiite or having much Shiite influence on his upbringing is thin to nonexistent. His middle name is Hussein — also the name of Shiite Islam’s holiest martyr and a common name among Shiite Muslims — but plenty of Sunnis and non-Muslims have that name, too. Obama’s estranged father, whom he has described as a Muslim who later became an atheist, came from Kenya, a country where Sunnis far outnumber Shiites. Obama did spend a few years in Muslim-majority Indonesia after his mother remarried and his stepfather was a Muslim, though by most accounts he adhered to the Sunni stream of Islam — as almost all Indonesians do. While in Indonesia, Obama attended a Catholic school and later a Muslim-majority state school that has been described as a “secular institution” by reporters from the Associated Press.

But this distinct lack of evidence doesn’t matter to Tamim and other proponents of the “Obama is a Shiite” conspiracy theory. It also doesn’t seem to matter that the theory is contradicted by other, just-as-unlikely theories. For example, many in Iraq believe that America, under the orders of Obama, is supporting the Sunni extremist Islamic State group. “It is not in doubt,” Mustafa Saadi, a commander in an Iraqi Shiite militia, told The Washington Post’s Liz Sly recently.

And, yes, some Shiites argue that Obama is secretly a Sunni and works against Shiites.