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.
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.