AN INCIDENT AT A TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL
SHEDS LIGHT ON SECURITY CONCERNS
Barack Obama, ever on the watch for some circumstance or development that can be exploited to advance his ideological agenda, lost no time placing himself at the center of that odd little incident of the precocious Sudanese teenager in Texas.
Obama invited Ahmed Mohamed, a ninth-grader with a yen for electronic tinkering, to the White House after the boy triggered a security alert over bringing what looked like a bomb into his Irving, Texas high school. All the world now knows that it was really just a few components from a digital clock. But when it was first spotted by a teacher, it appeared very much like a harbinger of some grisly mass murder.
Both the school administration and the police did their duty.
Of course, the media didn’t see it quite that way. The line, sounded over and over in our great cultural echo chamber, has run something like…
Well, the kid’s name was Ahmed Mohamed, so they figured he had to be a terrorist, right? Probably belonged to the Islamic State’s American Youth Division, right? Sheesh! What do you expect? This is Texas, where all those paranoid, xenophobic racists live.
It wasn’t enough that the authorities quickly figured out what was really up with Ahmed’s little improvisation, let the kid go, and apologized. Obama had to step in and reassure the Muslim community that he’s got their collective back.
Then Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, tweeted his praise for the kid’s inventive spirit.
Then a whole lot of other celebrities got into the act.
Then Hillary figured she’d better get with the program too.
Then the Council on American-Islamic Relations started talkin’ law suit.
Much suspicion has been aroused as to whether this was some kind of false-flag operation. Especially so, since it turns out that Ahmed’s father had political ambitions back in the old country and has been an active defender of Islam here in the U.S. (he had a bit of a set-to with the Rev. Terry Jones, that Florida pastor who got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2010 by burning a copy of the Koran).
Theories as to Ahmed’s true intentions abound.
One is that this was an attempt to embarrass Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who raised strong objections to Sharia, the code of Islamic law. As reported by the Washington Post, the mayor responded to…
“stories about a Muslim mediation panel comprised of arbitrators settling civil disputes using Sharia law in non-binding decisions, with reports that the panel was located in an Irving mosque. Van Duyne began referring to the tribunal as a ‘court’ and warned that foreign law can’t be applied when it ‘violates public policy, statutory, or federal laws.’
“‘Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving,’ she wrote, adding: ‘Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own. The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reign supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case.’”
The Islamic Center of Irving denied that there was any plan to set up a “court,” issuing a statement that noted…
“Similar religious tribunals have existed for decades in the American Jewish and American Christian faith communities to resolve disputes, most especially within families.”
But an atmosphere of distrust has persisted ever since.
The irrepressible Pamela Geller, whose controversial “Muhammad Art Exhibit,” held last May in Texas, was actually attacked by an armed terrorist, believes that the clock incident was conceived with much deeper and more wicked intent. In an op-ed for World Net Daily, she proposed…
“Every detail makes it clearer that the whole thing was a set-up, designed to make officials afraid to report Muslims with suspicious objects. Ahmed Mohamed’s clock will make us all less safe.”
My own view is that the whole thing was just what it appeared to be, an unthinking act by a somewhat introverted and bookish 14-year-old boy followed by an overreaction by school and law enforcement authorities. And yes, the kid’s being Muslim undoubtedly did help to raise the level of anxiety.
Electrical engineer Tushar Nene somewhat over-emphasized the ethnic/racial/religious aspect of the story on his blog, Technical Fowl. But his headline captured the essence of the situation cleverly…
“14 Year Old Irving, TX Technology Student
Arrested for NWB (Nerding While Brown)”
To me the fuss over Ahmed’s clock underscores the erratic nature of security measures instituted since 9/11 — and even more so, the ambivalent attitudes which people have toward them. Everybody wants our government officials to keep us safe…
But for cryin’ out loud, do it in a way that won’t inconvenience us, limit our freedom to do whatever we take it in mind to do, or raise questions about the motives of our particular ethnic group or social circle.
It was the Bush Administration that laid the groundwork for this schizoid attitude. Immediately after 9/11 we were given the contradictory messages that we must rally ’round the flag, projecting a strong image of national unity, while at the same time we shouldn’t be concerned that those dramatic suicide attacks might change our free and open style of life…
Not to worry. Feel confident and go shopping.
The Obama years have made things worse. Moving well beyond the commonsense observation that not all Muslims are our enemies, we are constantly fed the absurd notion that no Muslim anywhere anytime could possibly entertain a thought of doing us harm. Or at the very least, any Muslim who isn’t onboard with freedom, democracy, and the blue-light special at Kmart isn’t really a Muslim at all.
Little wonder people don’t take security seriously.
That is, until a kid comes to school with a clock that looks like a bomb and everyone goes nuts.
The security state is a fact of life in America now, and it will be for some time to come. Even after Vladimir Putin crushes ISIS (which is grist for a blog post all its own), we’ll still have al Qaeda to deal with, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the revived Taliban, and of course, Iran.
Isn’t it time we started getting serious about the threats we face?
Granted, we need to protect rights and freedoms. Our challenge is to not let the security state become the police state.
And granted, security awareness does lay a special burden on the Muslim community. That’s undeniable and unfortunate.
But as I have noted in previous blog posts (such as on July 7, 2014 and September 8, 2014), the terrorists have declared that they are acting in the name of Islam. Whether or not their understanding of Muslim doctrine is accurate, a certain unease about the religion and those who practice it can’t be avoided.
Life in America has changed. Recognize it. Accept it.
Before young Ahmed Mohamed heads off to MIT (which could be any day now, since the media are treating him like some kind of digital Doogie Howser), maybe he could build us a clock to remind us that time is running out.
All this hubbub about Muslims has complicated life for the Republican presidential contenders. Donald Trump has been slammed for not correcting the gross assumption of a questioner that President Obama is a Muslim. The Donald didn’t call Obama a Muslim himself, mind you, but that hardly matters. He should have instantly taken umbrage at such a mischaracterization…
Muslim? Are you kidding? Why Barry and I used to sing together in the Presbyterian choir.
Ben Carson went farther, voicing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the extremely politically incorrect opinion that no Muslim should be elected President.
This brought forth predictable outrage from CAIR President Ibrahim Hooper…
“To me this really means [Carson] is not qualified to be President of the United States,” the Associated Press quoted him. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”
Well, the good doctor asked for that one.
I think Carson saw an opportunity to rise above his usual, low-key, well-modulated tone and steal a little bit of the bravado that’s worked so well for GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. I’m not sure it works for someone who usually comes off as everybody’s wise uncle.
But we’ll see.
Here’s a link to the Dallas Morning News coverage of Ahmed’s clock and all the attendant madness…
…and to the Washington Post report on Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s concerns about Sharia in Texas…
Check out what Tushar Nene had to say about the infraction of “Nerding While Brown”…
…as well as Pamela Geller’s suspicions that there’s more to this clock business than telling time…
With his usual pithiness, Donald Trump dismissed the flack he’s taken for not setting that questioner straight about about the President’s religion when he tweeted…
“This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy by NOT saying something.”
But writing in the Washington Examiner, Byron York observes that questions about Obama’s faith commitment have been swirling around for years…