Suspicious Pop-Tart guns versus scientific suitcase clocks
In an effort to assuage what is perceived to be the fragile sensibilities of Muslim-Americans, Barack Obama has once again bowed to political correctness by extending his usual partiality toward an individual based solely on skin color and religion.
This time, the person at the center of the controversy is Ahmed Mohamed. Ahmed is the 14-year-old Sudanese-American aspiring clockmaker who has proven to be bright enough to impress his teachers with his engineering prowess – but apparently not bright enough to know that bringing a homemade digital clock to school with wires snaking out of it, stored inside a suitcase (or briefcase, if you will), isn’t a good idea.
As it turns out, Ahmed is also the son of Sufi Dallas imam Mohamed Elhassan, who once ran for the presidency in Sudan on the platform that, if elected, he would lift sanctions the U.S. imposed on Sudan in the late 1990s because of that nation’s alleged sponsorship of terrorism. Mr. Elhassan was also embroiled in controversy when he acted as a defense attorney on behalf of the Quran when Florida Pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn the Islamic holy book.
Mohamed Elhassan, who calls himself a sheik, now has a son who in his own right has become an overnight social media sensation by managing to register on Barack Obama’s racial injustice radar.
Despite young Ahmed being treated more respectfully than other children half his age who’ve been punished for doing things far less alarming than bringing a suitcase clock to class, in reaction to the school taking routine precautions concerning Ahmed’s science project, the Mohamed family is accusing the Irving, Texas school district of Islamophobia.
One would think that since immigration has swelled the Muslim population in America to 6.2 million, the Mohameds would understand that because Ahmed is one of millions of Allah-loving students presently occupying desks in America’s classrooms, reprimanding their son doesn’t mean he’s being profiled.
Nonetheless, unlike in the case of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who also had an affinity for wiring up and transporting household items, being a Muslim with a digital clock in a suitcase has served Ahmed well.
For starters, Obama, who still hasn’t contacted Kate Steinle’s parents since their daughter was murdered by an illegal alien and felon in San Francisco, tweeted kudos to the studious teen. In the tweet, the would-be horologist got an invitation to bring the ticking timepiece to the same White House that goes into lockdown over suspicious-looking coffee cups.
Above clock-making, Ahmed is being celebrated for his interest in science. As a matter of fact, in his laudatory tweet, President Obama, who also inspires young Iranians to take an interest in nuclear science, commended Mohamed for his technical expertise by implying that kids making clocks that look like suitcase bombs exemplify “what makes America great.”
In addition to Obama’s invite, Ahmed also got a “like” from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg, was offered an internship at Twitter, and, after being pictured wearing a NASA t-shirt, was offered a summer scholarship at Space Camp USA in Alabama.
However, what this love fest has yet to reveal is how an all-American kid like Ahmed’s detention for bringing a suspicious-looking suitcase to school may have successfully paved the way for children with Muslim-sounding names to avoid being questioned if, in the future, they too decide to pack a “cool clock” or a pressure cooker into their backpacks.
Moreover, if liking science is an indicator of inspirational greatness, one can’t help but wonder why the president never commended young Josh Welch of Baltimore, Maryland for his exciting artistic expression.
Instead, Josh, the seven-year-old who maintained that his Pop-Tart “gun” was just an attempt to fashion a breakfast food into a mountain range, was suspended from school for two days because, instead of the Grand Tetons, Josh’s creation resembled something that looked like a Glock 19.
If only Josh had made a clock that looked like a Glock, President Obama might have invited him to the White House, too!
Then there’s six-year-old Rodney Lynch, also from Maryland. In 2013, around the time of his run-in with the law, Rodney was a big fan of cartoons. Seems the imaginative Mr. Lynch positioned his thumb and index finger into the shape of an “L.” Rodney’s design did not say “tick-tock” like Ahmed’s, but after molding his fingers into a gun, the tyke was heard uttering the word “Pow!” For that, and to ensure the school’s “sense of safety and security,” Rodney was suspended for a day and has yet to receive a tweet from the president.
There’s also the case of the five-year-old Pennsylvania girl who, in a debate at the bus stop, insisted that princess bubble-blowers are superior to Hello Kitty bubble guns.
When the princess bubble-blower girl suggested that the two friends test their claims by shooting each other with soapsuds, the barely-out-of-diapers five-year-old was accused of making a “terrorist threat,” mandated to attend counseling sessions with a therapist, and suspended for 10 days.
In 2009, an 11-year-old student was arrested, thrown in jail, and charged with a third-degree felony for bringing a plastic butter knife to school. That same year, an eight-year-old Massachusetts boy was mandated to have psychological counseling for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross while in school.
Not so with Ahmed. After toting a homemade clock that looked like a suitcase bomb to school, the kid is a national hero, and the Irving Independent School District is under fire for investigating the digital clock in a suitcase as a potential threat.
What ever happened to the Janet Napolitano-coined DHS motto “If you see something, say something?”
At the end of the day, this isn’t about a presidential tweet or whether the authorities discriminated against a Muslim kid with an interest in science. The crux of the issue here is why schools’ “zero tolerance” safety policy suddenly has two different standards. Why, in the midst of the War on Terror, should a 14-year-old boy of Middle Eastern descent bringing a ticking circuit board to school in a metal suitcase be exempted from scrutiny?
Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com.