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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial – World stands with Ahmed — so do we

Brittany Luman/The Collegian
Brittany Luman/The Collegian

To deny that racism doesn’t continue to be relevant in the U.S. today would be a lie. For a nation that wants to pride itself on its diversity, a lot is done to ensure that the diversity isn’t celebrated.

This fact was exemplified by the arrest of 14-year-old Irving MacArthur High School student Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school Sept. 14.

Brittany Luman/The Collegian
Brittany Luman/The Collegian

Why was this homemade clock seen as so controversial that it would warrant the arrest of a 14-year-old?

A teacher thought the clock looked like a bomb.

The day started innocent enough for Mohamed. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, he said that his hobby is inventing. The night before, he put together his clock: a circuit board and power supply wired with a digital display, which he put into a pencil case. Mohamed said he enjoyed his robotics club when he was in middle school and had hoped to find a similar outlet in high school and was eager to show his work to his engineering teacher.

His engineering teacher’s response wasn’t what he was looking for, and he advised Mohamed not to show his clock to other teachers.

When the alarm of the clock went off during English class, his teacher complained, and Mohamed showed her the invention afterward.

The teacher’s first response?

“It looks like a bomb.”

Mohamed said it didn’t look like a bomb to him, that it was a clock. The teacher went on to keep the clock, informing the principal who called police. When police pulled Mohamed out of class, they took him into a room for questioning.

Mohamed told the Morning News the police asked him if he tried to make a bomb. He responded that it was a clock. The police maintained that it looked like a movie bomb and arrested Mohamed, taking him to a juvenile detention center, where he was fingerprinted before his parents picked him up.

As of Sept. 16, Irving police said they were not planning on filing charges toward Mohamed and considered the case closed.

The case over Mohamed’s rights, however, is just beginning.

Mohamed says in the interview that he was not allowed to call his parents during the interrogation. Irving police said they could give no comment on whether this did or did not happen. Not allowing a 14-year-old to call his parents that he is being arrested?

That’s a civil lawsuit waiting to happen.

Police then maintained that regardless of skin color, the reaction and caution would still have been the same. When was a white student ever arrested for showing off his or her invention? When white students create something, they are praised and reveled for being geniuses. When a Muslim student does it, the assumption turns to a bomb, as if nothing good could ever be created by a Muslim.

Furthermore, police say it was suspicious when Mohamed said it was a clock but gave no further explanation. A clock is a clock. It tells time. What more explanation is needed?

Irving has made recent news with anti-Islamic statements from its mayor Beth Van Duyne, whose comments on Sharia law spurred rumors that the religion would usurp the American government. It’s no surprise that how those on top feel, those below will follow.

However, it’s appalling that as science and technology are on the decline in education, an attempt to create something under those very subjects would be squelched. Fear and stereotypes are allowed to prevail over innovation and creativity. As STEM jobs and programs remain empty, shouldn’t everything be done to encourage a student whose desire is to go into those fields?

If Mohamed can walk away from this incident and still have the desire to create, it would be a miracle. It wouldn’t be a surprise, though, if he doesn’t, especially with his statement to the Morning News, “It made me feel like I wasn’t human.”

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