BY GHADEER ALARADI, Opinions Editor
Picture this: you’re an imaginative, creative, inventive kid who likes to make homemade objects. You want to impress your teachers by bringing a homemade clock to school, but unexpectedly get arrested, interrogated, and eventually suspended. The next day, you are the most talked about teenager in the U.S. and a hashtag with your name is trending.
Ahmed Mohamed, the boy from Irving, Texas who likes to engineer things, was charged with carrying a “hoax bomb.” He bought a homemade clock to his high school, only to end up being interrogated. He was asked multiple times if his clock was a bomb and answered that it was a clock. He was threatened with expulsion and was not allowed to call his parents.
Since then, his story went viral and the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed spread like wildfire. Soon enough, President Barack Obama tweeted him, “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.”
He got invitations from universities such as MIT, including an invitation from Mark Zuckerberg to visit Facebook.
The school however, reacted differently. They have not yet apologized and they sent a letter to parents explaining the importance of safety.
“We are pleased to report that after the police department’s assessment, the item discovered at school did not pose a threat to your child’s safety,” read the letter. Instead of applauding a kid with talent, they label it as a safety precaution.
Why would Ahmed get arrested, you may ask? He says it’s because of his ethnicity, name, and religion. According to him, if his classmates brought a clock to school, they would be treated fine. Instead of teaching tolerance and acceptance, the school reinforces the stereotype that Muslims are dangerous.
As my professor, Ronald Stockton, said, “These people are usually living in a bubble and they only interact with people like themselves.”
It’s unfair the way Ahmed was treated; he seems like such a smart and wise kid. He did not deserve the way he was treated or the way they made him feel. He should not have to go through something like this. No one should.
Ahmed commented on the incident saying, “I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called.” He was called those names several times by his previous classmates.
Ahmed’s charges were dropped and he is now exploring his options regarding other schools. The future is bright for Ahmed, and I wish the best for him and his family.
Unfortunately, this is not the only Islamophobic incident to occur. The Chapel Hill shootings, where three Muslim students were killed, happened earlier this year and gained nationwide attention.
Every incident like this that occurs to all minorities should be covered in the media and gain national attention. No one should have to feel judged, targeted, or hated because of their race, religion or ethnicity.