|Ahmed Mohamed in Handcuffs|
For years, schools have been encouraged by liberals to adopt a "zero tolerance" approach, leading to elementary school students getting suspended for bringing a Nerf gun to school or for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. While the "zero tolerance" policy has led to some absurd results, the media react much differently when the victim of the policy is a Muslim.
Ahmed's teachers decided to err on the side of caution and called police when they thought the clock looked similar to a bomb. For the record, I think their reaction was silly, and I certainly don't believe that Ahmed should have been removed from the school in handcuffs. However, I can understand how someone would conclude that Ahmed had put together a "hoax bomb," especially with a "zero tolerance" policy in place. Consider the following pictures. The top is a suitcase bomb; the bottom is Ahmed's clock.
There is clearly some resemblance, though I'm assuming that Ahmed's clock was much smaller and couldn't pass for a real bomb. But again, teachers are positively encouraged to be suspicious.
Hence, all we can fairly say is that teachers and police, constantly hounded into adopting a "zero tolerance" policy towards anything that looks like a weapon, went overboard and arrested a teenager for building a clock.
But that's not what's being said. Teachers and police are being accused of racism and Islamophobia, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism funding case) is using Ahmed's story as their latest proof that America is filled with anti-Muslim bigots. Here's a small sample from CAIR's Twitter page to show the mileage the organization is getting from this story:
Of course, CAIR hasn't bothered to present the slightest evidence that Ahmed's arrest had anything to do with Islamophobia. Teachers and police, for all we know, would have acted exactly the same way if the clock had been brought in by a Christian, a Hindu, or a Jew. We might think that CAIR would be more careful when accusing someone of hatred and bigotry, but CAIR only seems to insist on not "jumping to conclusions" when a jihadist is slaughtering infidels.
Due to the instant international outrage, Ahmed has since been invited to the White House by President Barack Obama, been invited to Facebook headquarters by Mark Zuckerberg, and been offered internships at Twitter and Reddit. These invites are supposedly based on his knack for inventing things. However, Dr. Thomas Talbot has shown that Ahmed didn't invent anything. He simply removed the outer casing from a standard store-bought alarm clock and put the insides into his own box.
(If you're wondering whether Dr. Talbot is qualified, he's a research scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California and Chief Scientist for the Armed Forces Simulation Institute for Medicine at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center.)
So here's what we have. A teenager took the casing off an alarm clock and put the rest into a box, then brought the box to school. His teachers, pressed into adopting "zero tolerance" policies, thought the device looked similar to a bomb and called the police. Police, suspecting that the student may have intended the clock as a "hoax bomb," removed the student from school in handcuffs. Because the student is a Muslim, the story has been spun into a narrative of bigotry, racism, and Islamophobia by organizations like CAIR and the media and politicians who mindlessly do their bidding. The student, who simply removed the casing from a clock, is now being praised for his brilliance and is about to head to the White House.
What message does this really send to young people?
Though I never agreed much with the late Christopher Hitchens, he was spot-on when he defined Islamophobia as "a word invented by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons."