A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump Didn’t Fire Muslim Judge


Q: Did President Trump fire Judge Salam al Alsawatha Malallahafa?

A: No. The claim originated on a satire website.

FULL ANSWER

A story published online claims that President Donald Trump fired Muslim Judge Salam al Alsawatha Malallahafa. He didn’t.

“BREAKING: President Trump Fires Muslim Judge (DETAILS),” reads the June 10 headline posted on americaslastlineofdefense.org. The website’s “About” page describes it as “a whimsical playland of conservative satire” and says “everything on this website is fiction.” Included at the bottom of each page is a “site rating” that reads “S” for satire.

Even without those disclaimers, there are hints throughout the story that it is false.

First, Judge Salam al Alsawatha Malallahafa doesn’t exist, as a quick Google search and a search of the Federal Judicial Center’s directory of federal judges reveal. And a reverse image search confirms that the featured photo actually shows Khaled Kabub, a district court judge in Israel.

The story also claims that al Alsawatha Malallahafa was appointed to the “14th district circuit court” in 2009. But there is no “14th district circuit court.” The federal court system includes 94 district or trial courts, which are divided into 12 regional circuits. Those circuits, plus the federal circuit, make up the 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, or appellate courts.

The hyperlinks in the story also indicate that it isn’t real news. The link on the text that says Trump “decided to take action” leads to a cartoon of him sleeping and sucking his thumb. And the link that promises to “keep you updated” on the story leads to a meme that reads, “yeah…that’s never gonna happen.”

In addition, Art Tubolls is not a “Trump spokesman,” as the story says. That fake name has been used to refer to a “legal analyst” and the “CEO of Comedy Central” in other fictional stories that we have written about.

In fact, Muslim Advocates, a national legal and advocacy group on civil rights, says that “there has never been a Muslim judge at the federal trial or appellate levels.”

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Abid Riaz Qureshi to be the first Muslim American federal judge, but the Senate never held a vote.

We wrote about Qureshi last year, when another so-called satire piece claimed that Trump had fired 14 Muslim federal judges.

Sources

Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. “Court Role and Structure.” Accessed 14 Jun 2018.

Eagleton, Flagg. “BREAKING: President Trump Fires Muslim Judge (DETAILS).” Americaslastlineofdefense.org. 10 Jun 2018.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Sham Sharia Stories.” FactCheck.org. 6 Dec 2017.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Michelle Wolf Not Fired From Comedy Central.” FactCheck.org. 2 May 2018.

Arab judge withdraws from race for Supreme Court.” Times of Israel. 18 Feb 2018.

Khan, Fatima. “Muslim Advocates Heralds President Obama’s Historic Judicial Nomination.” MuslimAdvocates.org. 6 Sep 2016.

Schaedel, Sydney. “Trump Didn’t Fire 14 Muslim Judges.” FactCheck.org. 30 Aug 2017.

U.S. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. “PN1661 – Abid Riaz Qureshi – The Judiciary.” 6 Sep 2016.