Influential tweeter Richard Dawkins, whose intellectual rigor never ceases to amaze, makes the very good, necessary, and important point that, in claiming his reassembled clock as an “invention,” Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas teenager arrested last week on suspicion of building a bomb, committed fraud.
Yesterday Barack Obama joined the groundswell of social media support for Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old high school student detained by the police for being seen with an electronic device and being a Muslim named Ahmed Mohamed. Good for Obama. And good for Ahmed that he wasn’t building a clock in Yemen.
When Terry Jones burned a copy of the Quran outside of his Gainesville, Florida, church in 2011, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed didn’t riot, like some outraged Muslims did in the Arab world, or protest peacefully, like many fellow followers of Islam did elsewhere. He didn’t even stay home, turn off the TV, and try to ignore Jones’ provocations. Mohamed was there, standing with Jones at the pastor’s Dove World Outreach Center, just before Jones burned the book.
There are sprawling industries and self-proclaimed career “terrorism experts” in the U.S. that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of Terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of “radical Islam.” There are all sorts of polemicists who build their public platforms by demonizing Muslims and scoffing at concerns over “Islamaphobia,” with the most toxic ones insisting that such a thing does not even exist, even as the mere presence of mosques is opposed across the country, or even as they are physically attacked.
Hoping to impress the teachers at his new school, an Irving, Texas, high school freshman named Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock with him to MacArthur High Monday morning, which he’d assembled before bed the night before. When he showed it to those teachers, though, they were something other than impressed, and by Monday afternoon, Mohamed was being led out of school in handcuffs. Ahmed’s English teacher believed the device was a bomb.