We cannot choose skin colour, but we choose our religion 

Whilst the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed is still fresh in minds and making headlines, I would like to add my two cents.

To summarise, a 14 year-old muslim schoolboy designed a clock and took it to school. An impressive project indeed. The problem is, if this clock was left in a shopping mall or airport it would result in an evacuation. Then again what unattended item wouldn’t cause concern? The fact that it was a box containing wires turned heads and led to an arrest. Some say his ethnicity and religion turned heads quicker.

This didn’t stay a local headline. He has since been invited to the White House by President Obama.    

Many huge names including Mark Zuckerberg have supported Ahmed to keep building.   

Hilary Clinton tweeted that his arrest was a product of Islamophibia. Many believe teachers and police officers made some bad moves and were only fearful because he was indeed muslim.

The list of tweets with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed is endless.

Dawkins has taken a seperate stance, refraining from using the above hashtag to the anger of many. He believes that Ahmed may be a fraud and that it could all be a hoax. A kid that knew what he was doing and now reaping the benefits from huge corporations. The problem with this stance is that if it isn’t true and Ahmed is genuine, it is bound to cause a lot of offence. 

I feel bad for Ahmed because he built a clock and was arrested as a result. If homework was handed out by teachers to build something and bring it to class, he did his homework. If he built it out of the blue and brought it in to the schools surprise, that is a different story. He is only 14 years old and kids do these things. Unfortunately kids don’t bring work outside of school into class enough.

If a major factor in an arrest is skin colour, this is wrong. People do not choose an ethnicity and their appearance should not be of concern. Religion is a choice. If religion plays a factor in an arrest we have to look at the reasons why such stigma has been attached to a religion. 

Bill Maher has caused mixed reactions from his take on the story which can be seen below.

Jorge Ramos states around the three minute mark that you cannot judge young Muslims for what others have done. Bill wants a little perspective on the incident and claims that one culture has been ‘blowing shit up’ more than others, meaning that teachers are justified to be cautious when a Muslim brings in a questionable package. The three other men on the panel, Chris Matthews, Mark Cuban and former Gov. George Patak seem to side with Bill. Why didn’t the kid state straight away what it was? Why let it get so out of hand? There are so many sides to the story any reasonable conclusion will have to wait until we know what exactly unfolded. Many YouTube comments question why the arrest was needed if they established it wasn’t a bomb, which is evident from the absence of bomb-threat procedures being carried out.

Bill isn’t putting this down to skin colour. He is putting it down to the belief system Ahmed chooses to believe. And this is something I can agree with. Religion isn’t something we are stuck with from birth. It is a lifestyle choice and a desision we make. Hopefully Ahmed is from a fairly moderate family and hasn’t been forced into belief, I would need to see evidence of that to assume. 

It is a shame that people are judged for what others of the same religion do, but that is why I left religion! I don’t want to be associated with anyone carrying out immoral acts. I am white British, I would hate to be associated with those that have bombed innocent civilians in the Middle East in an apparant war on terror. But would I be offended if someone from that region showed concern at my presence? No. We created that stigma, so I look at my fellow British and Americans to change our image. But we choose religions, and understand the stigma that is associated with said religion. I didn’t choose to be British.

Showing a little concern at actions made by someone of religion isn’t immoral in my opinion. So long as we do not make false claims or treat people unfairly. I am aware persecution and discrimination exists in this world and if this is down to ethnicity or sexual orientation, refrain from doing so. 

Religion should not be free from ridicule, the above should. I agree with Bill when he says Ahmed deserves an apology. But when we choose religion, we have to accept that stigma may present itself and on many occasions that does not develop externally, it comes from within the belief.

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8 thoughts on “We cannot choose skin colour, but we choose our religion 

  • The thing is, based on Bill Maher and even what Dawkins has said recently, people are now attributing bad things to all atheists. Labels are going to attract generalities until people realize that a label doesn’t follow stereotypes.

      • I just looked her up. She looks like she might be a Poe. Definitely it’s paying off for her Twitter account.

        Dawkins just shouldn’t have gone full bore against Ahmed. It’s not like the kid was trying to assert patent rights or proprietary rights over the clock or anything.

      • She could be, although she did make a documentary which involved her gaining a lot of weight and then losing it to prove ‘fat people are just lazy’. So she doesn’t just hide behind a computer screen.

  • I don’t know that I agree that religion is a choice, and I don’t know that you can choose what you believe. You can choose what evidence you look at, and you can choose how much time you spend assessing a claim, but if you believe or disbelieve something, I don’t think you can simply decide you want to believe the other way.

    • Hi Jon,
      I don’t think religion is a choice for those that have it forced upon them. And I think some people may struggle to comprehend something other than their religion.
      It isn’t easy to change a belief and go in the opposite direction, but it can be done. I don’t think it is easy or simple to do, but it isn’t impossible.

      • I absolutely agree that it can be done, and I agree that it is certainly not a simple process, but I’m still not sure I would consider it a ‘choice.’ I can’t just decide, for example, that I want to believe in the Mormon religion. I can claim to believe; I can study it and try to make it make sense; but if I don’t believe, I just simply don’t believe.

      • I understand what you’re saying. However I feel there is a lot of beliefs out there that don’t make sense, simply because they don’t make sense! We shouldn’t force a belief upon ourselves if it’s confusing because it’s illogical rather than hard to comprehend.
        However if the evidence is there, and it’s still hard to believe, then that’s our emotional side wanting to hear stories rather than fact. This I’m not a fan of.

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