The image that has created a sensation on the web was, it seems, created by a Muslim student, Firas Khateeb, studying in Chicago.
Here’s his profile -
About khateeb88 / Firas Khateeb
I'm a 20 year old college student in Chicago studying engineering. My Kodak C743 can't do much but I still try (usually fruitlessly) to take decent pictures. For all the nice, clean, crisp pictures in my photostream, there are 5 blurry, out of focus, garbage ones that my C743 messed up lol. I really just enjoy playing around with Photoshop more than the actual picture taking.
About the TIME cover photoshop he says-
The image is dated Jan 18,2009.
Obama the Joker
Not necessary indicative of my political views. But I do think hes not all he said he is. You can already sense he's backing off his claims of change.
So far it does not appear that he is responsible for printing and putting up posters. I wonder if he knew that someone would use his image and create such a stir.
Crossposted at Liberty News Central.
Update – This is curious:
Close Guantanamo Bay Now!
STOP caLLing MUSLIMS TERRORISTS !
Stop Global Warming
WE NEED KHILAFA
I believe Obama is sympathetic to most of these causes!
Update 2 -
received a mail a few weeks ago purpotedly from Mr. Barsawi. I asked his permission to post it here but received no reply then or since. However, just in case it is from the real Mr.Barsawi, I take the liberty of posting it here for the sake of putting things on record and because I do not wish to leave false impressions about anyone. Here goes-
To whom it may concern (editor/blogger @ "What the heck is art"),
My name is Yusuf Basrawi and I found that I was blogged about on your website (in the story of the Obama-Joker picture). I want to clear up the confusion before it gets me in any trouble, and I hope you are willing to hear me out.
Firas AlKhateeb is a friend of mine from school. If you want to find him on facebook, all you have to do is search him. You will also see I am friends with him. The picture I have on my profile is based off a joke of all of us friends boycotting him since this whole Obama-picture news came out. We, like everyone else did not know he created the picture before this; he himself didn't find out it was circulating until earlier this week.
If you would like to be added to my FB to see the history of all this---us friends making fun of him, and me putting the picture up on boycotting him, i'd be willing to show you. However, I would have to do that with a little bit of skepticism seeing that, not knowing who I was, you have taken bits and pieces of my profile and blogged about it already. Such as my causes/groups that I have joined (just like everyone else on FB who joins every other cause a friend sends them). I hope that isn't a way of spicing up a story that doesn't hold any ground.
So if you can, please take this post down, or at least, get rid of the 2nd part, which is the part referring to me. I would not mind if I had something to do with the Obama-joker picture, however, I don't, and I would hate for this to get me into unnecessary trouble. I'm sure you know what I mean as you blog on the public net, and probably face many challenges that relate to this.
Thank you so much for reading this far into the email, lol..and again, if you have any questions, you can ask me..I just want to be disassociated with this story. If you have any questions regarding the picture, you can try to reach Firas.
(email address withheld)”