By Adam Schalke
This past month, America experienced something of an islamophobic moment amidst an odd event in Texas. In September, a 14-year-old, Muslim boy by the name of Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing what appeared to be a bomb to school, but was later discovered to be a clock that he made himself and planned to show his instructor.
Now, in our society we have grown accustomed to the “SEE something, SAY something” policy. When a school detects suspicious activity on campus, there is no problem with them taking action in order to safeguard their students and faculty. However, this instance seemed just a little too peculiar. When the clock was misidentified, Ahmed was sent to the principal’s office, with his clock, and waited there until the police arrested him.
If the school had real evidence to believe that the place was about to be blown to pieces by a terrorist, wouldn’t the administrators evacuate the place? Wouldn’t a bomb squad be called? Wouldn’t the police officers avoid taking Ahmed and the bomb into their own car?
When news of this event spread, I was happy to see that many people sided with the Mohamed on social media, particularly with the trending hashtag #IstandwithAhmed. President Obama joined in and personally sent a tweet out to Ahmed.
Reactions on social media were positive, but it was the responses of various major and influential public figures that were troublesome.
Bill Maher defended the profiling and arrest of Mohamed, claiming that when a Muslim brings an odd looking item to a school, it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that it could be a weapon. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson echoed these sentiments, even going so far as to claim that he could not support a Muslim becoming President of the United States.
Excuse me? I thought we were supposed to be happy when children practiced ingenuity and creativity, but now we are punishing it?
The sad thing about all this is not that too many Americans are afraid of what seems different to them. Moveover, that we are all too willing to focus this fear exclusively on Muslims.
The tragedies of Columbine, Aurora, Newtown and many other domestic incidents in recent memory were committed by white men, and not a single one of them were Muslim.
If we are going to be the fair and balanced people, as Fox News likes to pretend they are, we as a country must understand that profiling is despicable and wrong, and give Muslims the respect they deserve and have been denied for far too long.