The fact that Ahmed Mohamed didn’t build anything, but just fit existing clockworks into a pencil box, has been ignored by everyone, including the President of the United States. No one cares that school officials nationwide have acted in similar ways with non-Muslim students, because of the zero tolerance policy on weaponry. The Cambridge Public Library doesn’t care about the ominous implications of this entire episode, with the inevitable effect that school officials will be wary of stopping Muslim students with suspicious objects. None of these facts matter in the unseemly rush to anoint Ahmed Mohamed as a new folk hero and the Rosa Parks of “Islamophobia.”
This exercise at the Cambridge Public Library was not designed to build clocks. It was designed to reinforce for these students the idea that “racism” is rampant in American society, and that Muslims are victims of it who deserve special treatment and honor for their courage and perseverance in the face of it. Vigilance against the terror threat is part of that “racism,” as the next teacher who sees a Muslim student with a suspicious object will let him do whatever he wants rather than face career suicide by reporting him. And so we are all less safe, but hey, the Cambridge Public Library has some clocks made by children to add to its collection, so all is well.
“Cambridge kids build clocks to honor Texas teen,” by Laura Crimaldi, Boston Globe, October 24, 2015 (thanks to David):
CAMBRIDGE — Third-grader Ari Lavine doesn’t mince words when it comes to what happened to the 14-year-old boy who was arrested in Texas last month after officials determined that the homemade clock the teen brought to school to be a hoax bomb.
“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Lavine said Saturday of Ahmed Mohamed’s ordeal.
The 8-year-old Lavine was among about 40 children who gathered Saturday in the Curious George Room at the Cambridge Public Library to build clocks in honor of Mohamed, whose arrest in September ignited a national debate about racism and profiling.
Luke Kirkland, communications librarian at the library, said he was inspired to organize the event after hearing Mohamed’s story. The library planned two sessions and purchased 10 electronic circuit kits known as “littleBits” for the event, Kirkland said.
The kits will be incorporated into the library’s collection, he said.
The event drew many children who said they are tinkerers like Mohamed who enjoy taking apart toaster ovens and computers at home.
Police ultimately decided not to charge Mohamed, a Muslim from a prominent Sudanese family. But some of the young scientists and engineers who attended the Saturday event are minorities who wondered what they would do if one of their creations was mistaken for something nefarious.
“It’s just ignorance,” said Shane Barnes-Thomas, 12, a student at TechBoston Academy. “There’s tons of racism in the world.”
His mother, Lorraine Barnes, said Shane learned about Mohamed on the news.
“He was totally engaged. Like, ‘Wow. That could have been me,’ ” she said.
Rahul Bhargava, a research scientist at the Center for Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told students that he identifies with Mohamed.
“I was that kid. I was Ahmed,” he said. “I learned to become an engineer by taking stuff apart in my basement.”
“My daughter’s 5,’’ he said. “This is what I do with my daughter and I want to know that she’s not going to get arrested for it.”
Students at the Cambridge workshop used modular electronic parts to construct clocks in solidarity with a Texas student who was arrested.
During the sessions, children wore safety goggles and took apart different electronic equipment, including a VCR and a guitar pedal. Then they were given a cup full of “littleBits” pieces that, when assembled, create an electronic timer. What they didn’t get were any instructions….
In the days leading up to the event, Kirkland said the library received criticism online from Mohamed’s detractors, some of whom complained that his creation was not unique, and others who were bothered by his visit with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, a wanted war criminal.No one, however, came to the library to protest the event.
Lavine, the third-grader, said Mohamed would be proud of the young clockmakers in Cambridge. “I think he would think it was pretty cool,” he said.
No doubt. But probably not for the reasons you think.