by Jonathan Sumettikul news editor
Most American school children don’t have to live in fear of being arrested for bringing their creative inventions to school. However, on Sept. 14, just three days after the anniversary of 9/11, CNN reported that a high school student in Irving, Texas was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school.
14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a Muslim student who aspires to study at MIT and becomean engineer, was arrested after he showed his teacher a digital clock he made from a pencil case. Ahmed told reporters, “I built a clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her.”
Instead of receiving praise for his work, Ahmed was ar- rested and suspended from school. While Ahmed was being interviewed he said, “I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist, I felt like all the names I was called.” He revealed that in middle school he had been called “bombmaker” and “terrorist” just because of his race and religion. What happened to Ahmed highlights the damage stereotypes and racial profiling can cause. However, many great things came out of Ahmed’s arrest. CNN reported that social media responded right away with more than 100,000 tweets supporting Ahmed, including a tweet from President Obama that said, “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.”
Not only did the Ahmed receive an invitation to the White House from the President but he also received support from the creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, internship offers from the leaders of Reddit and Twitter, a spot at Google’s science fair and an invitation to visit MIT’s campus.
Ahmed’s family, immigrants from Sudan, are now looking to transfer Ahmed to a new high school. Despite all that has happened Ahmed has responded positively, saying, “I was scared at the moment, but now I feel really happy, I’m getting all this support from all over the world. And the support isn’t just for me but for everyone who has been through this. I will fight for you if you can’t stand up for yourself.” He has accepted the invitation to go to the White House and is excited about MIT’s offer as well.
Ahmed’s story highlights that stereotyping and racial profiling still happen in the United States. For an international student like me, America has always been considered the land of opportunity where people from all over the world seek to create their futures. It has become a melting pot for all races, all cultures and all religions. As Moody students preparing to do ministry stateside and overseas, we should pray for positive change in stereotypes and racial profiling. This kind of change allows us to break down social barriers that prevent us from building relationships with the people we will minister to