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Islamophobia in Irving

Last Monday, 14-year-old Irving, Texas student Ahmed Mohamed brought a clock he invented to school. Not long after arriving, he was led away in handcuffs. To his teachers, school officials and the Irving Police Department, the clock resembled a bomb. To a large portion of society, their quickly drawn conclusions resembled racial profiling.

Particularly baffling about the case are the facts that the campus was not evacuated and no special forces were called to the scene. If an instructor or multiple instructors suspect a bomb to be present on campus, wouldn’t it make sense to try to lead students to presumable safety? If the police received a call about a bomb, would they not send in a tactical team trained to deal with that sort of situation?

Fortunately, Mohamed was released from custody to an outpouring of support on social media. #IStandWithAhmed began trending on Twitter. President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg extended invitations to the White House and Facebook, respectively. When Mohamed’s father withdrew him from school, the Irving high schooler received offers from private schools around the country.

Unfortunately, some members of society deemed it necessary to criticize Mohamed for his clock and Obama for his invitation. Palins Bristol and Sarah saw fit to spew negativity along with numerous other conservative commentators. Thirteen-year-old CJ Pearson attained a certain degree of fame for calling out the president in an online video, linking the invite to Obama’s “agenda” and accusing him of stoking the “terrorist” #blacklivesmatter movement.

Pearson’s video and the temporary fervor surrounding it were among the most disturbing developments following Mohamed’s arrest and overnight celebrity. Of course certain people would take issue with the mass support that greeted a young Muslim boy who had been wrongfully accused of plotting an act of terrorism; just Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson said in a “Meet The Press” interview: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

At the same time, where does someone as young as 13 find the means or need to articulate such rage, and how does his competent impersonation of a Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity type resonate with so many people? To be fair, such juvenile – if well-spoken – anger seems more appropriate coming from a 13-year-old than from a middle-aged man.

On the bright side, Mohamed’s future looks brighter than Pearson’s, who will quickly fade out of cultural memory. The only people who have to put up with his pedantic rants will be fickle followers and unlucky classmates.

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