Mark Meets World: Clockgate: Don’t fear the thinker

Mark Meets World

Mark Feuerborn

On Sunday, Sept. 20, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson declared that he doesn’t believe a Muslim should ever become president.

“If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,” Carson said.

Ah yes, Dr. Carson, it’s definitely inconsistent with the principles of America, including that one about separation of church and state, of course.

This most recent Islamophobic word-vomit from Carson comes almost immediately after the arrest of 14-year-old Muslim inventor Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a homemade clock to school to impress his engineering teacher. The teacher, suspicious of the device, told Mohamed not to show any other teachers. The clock then beeped during Mohamed’s English class, where the English teacher mistook it for a bomb. Police arrived, and Mohamed was quickly arrested.

Once the situation gathered attention from social media, the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed arose, as people and organizations across America poured out support for this poor young thinker, including Mark Zuckerberg and Google. Even President Obama made a point of giving a shout out to Mohamed on Twitter.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great,” Obama said.

Atta’ boy, Mr. President.

The most frustrating part about Mohamed’s situation is, unsurprisingly, the openly Islamophobic response.  Including Carson’s naive response regarding Muslims in office, especially in light of recent events, other responses have directly attacked Mohamed. During the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate last Wednesday night, candidates Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham actually attempted to utilized Mohamed’s arrest over a clock to say that anti-Christian discrimination is a bigger threat than anti-Islamic discrimination, specifically referencing Kim Davis’ refusal to issue gay marriage licenses.

“The biggest discrimination that’s going on is against Christian business owners and individuals who believe in traditional forms of marriage,” Jindal said.

“Kim Davis, I’m not worried about her attacking me. I am worried about radical Islamic terrorists who are already here planning another 9/11,” Graham said.

Ironically, Graham also attacked Carson in his statement that Islam is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution, declaring that Carson owes an apology to American Muslims and is unfit for presidency.

I’d also like to take a moment to reference a new study released by the New America Foundation, which found that white Americans, primarily members of anti-government groups or white supremacists, have been responsible for the vast majority of acts of terror and racial or religious killings on U.S. soil since 9/11, wherein “terror” is defined as ideological violence. In referencing this new study, I say that it’s time for Islamophobes to get over themselves.

Other, more bizarre responses to Mohamed’s clock include biologist Richard Dawkins’ claiming that Mohamed’s clock was not actually his own invention. Still others claim that the school and local police are not at fault for being alarmed, due to the questionable appearance of the clock. Several images have surfaced online of Mohamed’s clock next to a common IED device.

While it is understandable for a teacher to be concerned about suspicious objects, as they are responsible for the safety of everyone in the classroom, it is not understandable for police to arrest Mohamed after examining his clock and determining it was not a bomb.

Mohamed was arrested for making a bomb hoax. A 14-year-old boy who told his teachers and police that the device was a clock, was charged the same as someone who yelled “bomb,” in an airport. Instead of apologizing, the school also sent a letter home to the family of Mohamed, telling them to remind their child not to bring any items to school prohibited in its code of conduct.

Clocks aren’t on that list, Irving School District. Thanks again for continuing to encourage a culture of fear. Hopefully Mohamed has a word with you after he gets back from the White House, the Google Science Fair, and Facebook Headquarters.