School officials overreact to phantom-weapon threats all the time. The Caucasian seven-year old who was suspended last year for (yes, seriously) chewing his food into the shape of a gun wasn’t a Muslim. If he had been, you can be sure everyone would have cried bigotry. But in the case of Ahmed Mohamed, his clock does look like it could be a real bomb, and the appropriate measure in such a case is to err on the side of caution. When the kid was questioned by his teachers about the device, he apparently wasn’t forthcoming. He may have just been naturally shy and nervous, or he may have had a passive-aggressive attitude. The point is, school officials don’t dismiss strange devices that alarm people, and nor should they. (The Caucasian kid who was suspended for chewing his food into the shape of a gun, on the other hand — that should have been completely ignored.)
There is also the question of whether or not the incident was staged. ArtVoice argues for a hoax, that Ahmed didn’t invent or build a clock, but rather took apart an existing clock, transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. Given that Ahmed’s father is known for debating Islamophobia publicly, and that Ahmed has been bullied himself, he/they may have wanted to precipitate a certain reaction. If that’s true, they sure as hell got it. I’m not saying this was a hoax (I’m simply not sure), but those who claim it is aren’t conspiracy theorists.
Watch Bill Maher’s panel discussion. And Bill is right: if you want to wax wroth over the mistreatment of a teen Muslim, try Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. He’s slated for crucifixion and beheading in Saudi Arabia. By all means let’s fight the real race battles on our own turf. But let’s also keep a fucking perspective. The amount of attention Ahmed Mohamed has received is off-the-scales absurd when the likes of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr receive so less by comparison.