Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Muslim Kid with a Clock

Alice C. Linsley

The 14-year old Muslim boy who brought a homemade clock to school was arrested on suspicion of bringing a bomb. The boy was handcuffed and questioned by five police officers at MacArthur high school in Irvine, Texas. Was this over-reaction or proper security?

Ahmed Mohamed
This wasn't a school project. Ahmed said that he wanted to impress his teachers. One teacher said he shouldn't show it to the other teachers. It beeped in 6th period class and he showed it to that teacher. She said it looked like a bomb and reported it. Ahmed said, "From my perspective it didn't look like a bomb."

Here is the statement from one of the White House staff, DJ Patil, on Ahmed Mohamed: 

"Yesterday, a 14-year-old student named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing his engineering project (an electronic clock) to his high school. Officials mistook it for a bomb.

When I was growing up, my friends and I were fortunate to know how to use soldiering irons, circuit boards, and even a bit of duct tape when nothing else worked. We played, experimented, and learned through trial and error.

The best part? When I brought my work in, my teachers loved it. And that fed my desire to embrace science, engineering, and technology. That learning to play with technology -- that curiosity -- has helped me on every step of my journey so far.

That's why I’m so proud to see people across the country standing up for the innovation and intellectual curiosity that Ahmed has shown.

That includes the President."

President Obama Tweeted:

"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."

The President and his wife are known to encourage young people in the sciences. But is this really about education? Would this even have made national news if the boy had been a Christian? The President's praise is for a Muslim boy who the President thinks has been treated unfairly. Would the President have noticed a Christian boy arrested under the same circumstances?

Personally, I think that was a nice gesture on the part of the President. It may soften the boy's trauma at being handcuffed and questioned, assuming Ahmed was traumatized. He strikes me as a young man who enjoys the attention. That is what he wanted when he brought his clock in a briefcase to school.

Richard Dawkins tweeted similar suspicions. Dawkins said: “If this is true, what was his motive? Whether or not he wanted the police to arrest him, they shouldn’t have done so.” In a subsequent tweet, Dawkins said: “Assembling clock from bought components is fine. Taking clock out of its case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?

“Yes, there are other reasons why a boy might take a clock out of its casing and pretend he’d made it. Trying to impress teachers, for instance."

Dawkins doubts the boy designed the clock. Yet this young man won a robotics contest in junior high. His family is of Sudanese heritage and his older sister was suspended for reportedly threatening to blow up the school. You would think that Ahmed would recognize that the need for better judgement, but in general teens notoriously are lacking in good judgement.

Ahmed's arrest triggered allegations of racism and Islamophobia from the Left and caution from the Right. Kevin Jackson discussed the Muslim with the clock, insisting that this is a set up; a crying wolf so that next time a Muslim kid brings an electronic device to school in a briefcase people will not react so quickly.

There has since been an outpouring of support for the young man in a NASA T-shirt and handcuffs. Ahmed has received a gift of a Surface Pro 3, a Microsoft Band, a 3D printer, an Office 365 subscription, and much more. These were delivered to him by a Muslim woman Alia Salem who Tweeted: "Enjoyed delivering box of tech goodies gifted by @microsoft to Ahmed! Mashallah!"

Ahmed will continue to receive attention from this incident and much sympathy. Sympathies will swing to Muslims as a whole. Rights groups will jump on this, and the police of this Texas town will likely face litigation for doing their job. Lots of trouble will come out of Ahmed's attention-getting behavior.


George Patsourakos said...

Arresting a 14-year-old boy for bringing a clock he made to school -- because a teacher thought it was a bomb -- clearly conveys the blatant islamophobia that now pervades the United States.

If the boy who brought the clock to school had not been a Muslim, his teacher and law enforcement officials would never have even thought of the clock being a bomb.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I can't imagine that the boy's religion was the main factor. Most school violence in America has been done by non-Muslims bringing weapons to school. The teacher was right to report any suspicious. That is what we teachers have been trained to do. It is for the security of our students.