The Ahmed Mohamed Case

The Ahmed Mohamed Case September 19, 2015

Ahmed MohamedBy

Saima Sheikh

A 14 year old ninth grader was pulled from his class by police officers and school principal and interrogated for about 1 ½ hours. His crime: He brought a homemade digital clock to school to show his engineering teacher. He is a Muslim and his name is Ahmed Mohamed. This happened this past Monday at MacArthur High School in Irving, TX (suburb of Dallas). According to Ahmed’s initial interview with Dallas Morning News, the events during his interrogation were, “Ahmed never claimed his device was anything but a clock, said police spokesman James McLellan. And police have no reason to think it was dangerous. But officers still didn’t believe Ahmed was giving them the whole story. “We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.” Asked what broader explanation the boy could have given, the spokesman explained: “It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?” Police led Ahmed out of MacArthur about 3 p.m., his hands cuffed behind him and an officer on each arm.”

Irving ISD issued the following statement, “Our top priority is the safety of every child on every campus, every day. When the homemade electronic device pictured here was discovered at MacArthur High School on Monday, school employees took precautions to alert police authorities. Students and staff should always immediately report if they observe any items or behavior that could indicate a potential threat to safety.” The school suspended Ahmed for three days even though this clock did not pose any threat. They haven’t recanted that statement. If you read their entire statement carefully, you will notice that they say, the device was “discovered”. Really! Ahmed said he showed to his engineering teacher who told him to put it back in his backpack and not to show it to anyone else. If Ahmed’s intentions were malicious, he would’ve hid it somewhere to scare people. Instead, he showed to his English teacher and explained to her that it was a homemade digital clock. That teacher in turn went to the principal’s office and they called the police.

He wasn’t even allowed to call his father! The police kept asking him questions and he kept replying that he only built the clock to show his engineering teacher. The police officer said that they didn’t understand his intention and decided to handcuff him and charge him for bringing a hoax bomb to school. What is there to understand? The child built a digital clock and brought it to school.  If the police and the principal thought that this device was a bomb, then they should have issued an emergency, evacuated the school and called the bomb squad. None of this happened. Which proves that the statements issued by Irving ISD and the police department don’t have any merit.

The only explanation that comes to my mind is that Ahmed was arrested for being a Muslim who dared to excel in science. This clearly proves that Islamophobia has crept into American school system where the teachers and school administrators are quick to make hasty decisions and are unable to differentiate between a clock and a bomb. Their mindset is that just because he is a Muslim, he can’t possibly be smart or bring a harmless device to school. He is a terrorist and his intention is to harm us!

This situation has really saddened and scared me as a mother of a Muslim high school student. Should I discourage my son who loves math and science to not take his science experiments to school?

Follow Saima on twitter at @SaimaGSheikh

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