In the news: Muslim teen’s arrest over clock strikes up support, concern
By Hanna Rahman and Maham Haq –
After Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 –year-old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, brought a homemade clock to school to show his teacher, he was arrested, handcuffed and suspended.
“I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her,” Mohamed told reporters. “It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it.”
The clock was confiscated. Mohamed was fingerprinted and a mug shot were taken at a juvenile detention center. Mohamed was also suspended from school for three days.
The school’s principal, Dan Cummings, informed other parents that the police had responded to a “suspicious-looking item on campus.” In addition, at a news conference on Wednesday, September 16th, Irving police chief, Larry Boyd, said that the police had “no evidence to support that there was an intention to create an alarm.” Boyd said that the officers were justified in detaining the teenager based on the information they had at the time.
The incident sparked outrage among many who argued that that Mohamed was profiled because he is Muslim. As a result, #IStandWithAhmed started trending worldwide on Twitter and Facebook to show support and solidarity to Mohamed.
Mohamed even received attention from President Obama, former secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg.
Obama invited Mohamed to the White House next month for the annual Astronomy Night where renowned scientists are also expected to attend.
Clinton tweeted that “assumptions don’t keep us safe” and urged the teenager to “keep building.”
Zuckerburg wrote,“having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed. Ahmed, if you ever want to come to Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”
AMV Reporters asked students how they felt about the incident.
Ahab Najem, 20, Glendale
“I like how Obama and Zuckerburg reached out to Ahmed. If someone with their net worth and status is supporting him, society is going to feel more inclined to wipe away this Islamaphobia…He’s fourteen, how is going to know where to make a bomb. The attention will help move Islam in a positive way.”
Arhem Barkatullah, 18, Chandler
“There is no reason for Ahmed to not be allowed to bring a clock to school. He shouldn’t have to live his life in fear of stereotypes. The school’s level of concern was unwarranted as well since they continued to take further action after confiscating the clock and talking to Ahmed, which was not necessary.”
Akshay Nalla, 18, Chandler
“Although I believe Ahmed should have exercised some self-awareness about how his clock could have been interpreted upon first glance, Ahmed should have been allowed to bring it in because there was no evidence that the device was dangerous. The school should have issued a warning if they had objections, the school’s response was irresponsible.”
Ramzi Ibrahim, 20, Chandler.
“Why should a 14 year old kid have the fear of being profiled for creating a clock? Children such as Ahmed with such great ambition, creativity, and hard work are the future of this country….Disregard all religions and all ethnicities, all people should have the right to pursue with what they love, without the fear of getting profiled for one’s heritage or culture.”
Nikki Naik, 19, Gilbert
“Teachers’ roles are to be accepting and encouraging towards students, especially the ones that go out of their way to demonstrate a product of their passion…[the situation] awakened people who still see Muslims as terrorists.”
Shivaan Kulanathan, 21, Scottsdale
“Ahmed had no need to be more aware or to have expected this treatment because no student should have to stifle their own creativity and passion just so ignorant individuals can keep their peace of mind…The situation makes me feel sorry for young students who may be discriminated against for any reason.”
Agastya Pandarinath, 21, Phoenix,
“As long as it is not harmful to anyone, I do not see any issues for kids to bring things like that to school.”
Zakaria Mahmoud, 20, Tempe
“I am very saddened by the way the school handled the situation. He is a smart kid with a bright future and if he were to have this on his record, it would have ruined his future aspirations.”