A couple weeks ago, the news was bombarded with reports claiming that a Muslim high school student by the name of Ahmed Mohammed was arrested for bringing his home-made clock to school. Allegedly, Ahmed wanted to show his invention to his teacher, who interpreted the clock-show-and-tell as a bomb threat. This prompted nation-wide outrage and resulted in an outpouring of social media support, culminating with high profile tweets from the likes of President Barack Obama and the hash tag #IStandWithAhmed. The tweet from our President read “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.”
In light of the ensuing controversy, police and more specifically Irving High School, were subsequently accused of racial profiling and stifling creativity. Alia Salem, of the council on American-Islamic relations, made an interesting point claiming “I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed”.
Unfortunately, this incident is but a blot on a much larger painting. Ever since that tragic September day in 2001, many Muslims have been unfairly targeted and portrayed as evil terrorists. In reality, Muslims as a whole are a very peaceful people and it’s the false Muslims, the “Jihadists”, who are truly the ones to be feared. However, American stereotypes spawned from fear and ignorance have lumped the two together, resulting in many incidents such as the case with Ahmed Mohammed.
Although there have been many supporters of Ahmed and his story, there have also been a fair share of detractors as well. These detractors have accused Ahmed of purchasing a pre-made alarm clock and simply placing it in a pencil box. Other detractors have dug a little deeper and found substantial evidence that Ahmed has a storied past of trouble making, racking up weeks of suspension throughout his education. Whether or not these accusations are grounded in any level of truth remains to be seen, but it’s a fair assumption that Ahmed’s situation was handled very poorly. If in fact Ahmed did invent the clock, it’s kids such as him that will one day be running the country, and it’s up to the current generation in charge to nourish that type of potential to ensure that the future of this country is a bright one.
If America continues to submit to these types of paranoid assumptions, the country runs the risk of missing out on the next “Bill Gates” or “Steve Jobs.” Where would society currently be without Microsoft or Apple?