A fourteen year old's discriminatory treatment is the just the tip of America's Islamaphobic iceberg.
Ahmed Mohamed deserves the attention he is getting. The example of his arrest opens up a conversation worth having, which is this; why was Mohamed targeted the way he was? It seems that he was arrested in a way that other children may not have been, and much it seems to be the result of anti-Muslim sentiment in the area he attended school.
Mohamed is fourteen, and was arrested for bringing in a homemade clock as a science project. He was subsequently sent to the principal’s office, until police arrived and arrested him. He was arrested based on the idea that his clock was a bomb.
While we shouldn’t be unfair, the facts seem that Mohamed was treated differently in this context. It is also clear now that he was treated differently because he is Muslim. Conservatives want to hold a debate on whether or not the clock looked like a bomb. Yet, it is almost certain that if we interchanged Ahmed Mohamed with Bobby White, that such a fear would not have surfaced so quickly.
It is also clear that proper protocol was not followed in the case of a bomb scenario. On many counts, the arrest did not follow safety procedures, if they believed the bomb threat was real. It seems that the arrest was prejudicial. It is not coincidental that Mohamed was given the fate he was.
Some have argued that Mohammed planned this incident, that he knew bringing in the clock was a direct provocation to get media attention. Conservative blogs have been saying that Mohamed is essentially bullshitting his way through this, and all he and his family want is media attention. No one but Mohamed and his family can claim whether or not this is true.
Even if it is true that Mohamed set this up, the results are still interesting. If school officials did know the clock was not a bomb, they still exercised extra-necessary measures simply for the sake of showing off, it seems. If you knew that it was not actually a bomb, why not just ask Mohamed, and then proceed to call his parents and follow that basic procedure?
Instead, Mohamed was arrested (in front of others in school) and it seems that it was intentional. Many have to ask themselves, would Bobby White have been arrested? Of course this is hypothetical, but one has to question whether or not fourteen year old Bobby White would have been handled the same way fourteen year old Ahmed Mohamed was.
The odds are Bobby White would not have been arrested and essentially shamed in front of the school in such a way. It seems unlikely that this was not a case of bias in part of school officials. Keep in mind the town in which Mohamed went to school has a history with anti-Muslim sentiment.
Irving, Texas has a reputation for anti-Muslim sentiment. The Mayor of Irving has been an anti-sharia crusader, trying to pass laws banning sharia law in Irving for some time now. Yet, the situation is much broader than that. The sentiment around the issue of Ahmed Mohamed is not relegated only to Texas.
Anti-Muslim sentiment is a problem in the United States. As even with me being a non-believer, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that Mohamed was arrested because he was a Muslim and was profiled in a way to suspect his science project was a bomb. Muslims have been categorized as an inherent danger by many in this country, and we see it fester every year.
At a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire, a man asked Trump about Muslims and when we would “get rid of them.” Trump replied in his usual antagonistic fashion, agreeing that Muslims were a great problem and that it should be “looked in to.” Trump being a demagogue is not surprising, yet it seems now that it has expanded.
Attacking Muslims is fairly easy in the US. People do it all the time, both media moguls and common man alike. Trump has just proved how easy it is, by basically agreeing that Muslims need to be gotten rid of. This language is akin to ethnic cleansing. Interchange Muslim with Jew, and the language would sound reminiscent of the Holocaust. Trump jumping on the bandwagon has just reinforced how entrenched anti-Muslim sentiment is, especially among Republicans.
Fox Noise has of course attacked Mohamed and agreed with Trump. Mohamed has been criticized for bringing in the clock, which could look like a bomb. Yet, as anyone that knows electronics would say, if you turn any digital clock inside out, they could look like bombs. The fact is, Mohamed was not given due diligence to discern his innocence before he was arrested.
The reasons of his arrest have now catapulted him to stardom, which is well deserved. His case is an example that should be emphasized. It reveals that Muslim Americans, of any age, are suspect and given no tolerance. The problem is not just local. Ahmed Mohamed’s case could happen anywhere in America.
Keep in mind, most bombings and acts of terrorism in the US have been committed by white males (many of them Christians). While I understand the argument of international versus domestic terrorism, and I am willing to have that conversation. However, if we are talking about potential terrorist threats in the homeland, people like me should be far more suspect than people like Mohamed simply based on statistics.
It seems that Ahmed Mohamed was not treated on an equal basis in this matter. Even if this entire scenario was a supposed set-up, it does expose the basic hypocrisy of conservative America towards Muslims. While Irving is far more likely to experience a mass shooting or bomb plot by Bobby White, it is instead Ahmed Mohamed that is suspect by definition.
This can be a nuanced discussion, which I think should be had. Yet, we have to understand the social construct that allows us to perceive Mohamed as a threat in the first place.