[Vision2020] Outcry After Muslim Teen Is Detained Over Homemade Clock

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Sep 16 13:40:05 PDT 2015

Do you believe that the same thing would have happened (apprehended , confined . . . ) if, instead of a 14-year-old Muslim student named Ahmed, he was a 14-year-old Caucasian student named Johnny?

Courtesy of ABC News at:



Outcry After Muslim Teen Is Detained Over Homemade Clock
A 14-year-old Muslim boy became a sensation on social media Wednesday after word spread that he had been placed in handcuffs and suspended for coming to school with a homemade clock that teachers thought resembled a bomb.

Police declined to seek any charges against Ahmed Mohamed, but that did little to tamp down criticism of how authorities handled the matter.

Mohamed was pulled from class Monday and taken to a detention center after showing the digital clock to teachers at his suburban Dallas high school.

Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said the clock looked "suspicious in nature," but there was no evidence the boy meant to cause alarm at MacArthur High School. Boyd considers the case closed.

In a matter of hours, the clock made Ahmed a star on social media, with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed tweeted nearly 600,000 times by Wednesday afternoon.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union condemned what they called heavy-handed tactics by school officials and police.

"Instead of encouraging his curiosity, intellect and ability, the Irving (school district) saw fit to throw handcuffs on a frightened 14-year-old Muslim boy wearing a NASA T-shirt and then remove him from school," Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU in Texas, said in a statement.

The White House also weighed in.

In a tweet, President Barack Obama called Ahmed's clock "cool" and said more kids should be inspired like him to enjoy science, because "it's what makes America great."

Asked if bias was involved, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that it was too early "to draw that direct assessment from here." But, he added, Ahmed's teachers had "failed him."

"This is an instance where you have people who have otherwise dedicated their lives to teach our children who failed in that effort, potentially because of some things in their conscience and the power of stereotypes," he said.

The boy was invited to participate in an astronomy night the White House is organizing sometime next month with premier scientists.

In a post to his site, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, "Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause."

"Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I'd love to meet you," Zuckerberg posted. "Keep building."

The teen explained to The Dallas Morning News that he makes his own radios, repairs his own go-kart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling the clock using a circuit board, a power supply wired to a digital display and other items.

Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the Morning News that his son "just wants to invent good things for mankind. But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."

The boy's family says Ahmed was suspended for three days. It was not clear if he will be allowed to return to school now that police have declined to pursue the matter.

School district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver declined to confirm the suspension, citing privacy laws. Weaver insisted school officials were concerned with student safety and not the boy's faith.

The police chief said the reaction to the clock "would have been the same regardless" of his religion.

"We live in an age where you can't take things like that to school," Boyd said.

Boyd said police have an "outstanding relationship" with the Muslim community in Irving and that he would meet the boy's father Wednesday to address any concerns.

This spring, the city council endorsed one of several bills under discussion in the Texas Legislature that would forbid judges from rulings based on "foreign laws" — legislation opponents view as unnecessary and driven by anti-Muslim sentiment.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reviewing the action against Ahmed.

"This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving's government entities are operating in the current climate," Alia Salem, executive director of the council's North Texas chapter, told the Morning News.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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