The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) was profoundly concerned by the embarrassing arrest and mistreatment of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 year old student with excellent academic achievement and scientific goals, for bringing to his school a clock he had built to show to his science teacher. ADAMS commends the White House and President Obama for its creative resolution to this totally unwarranted arrest. We ask all people, of every faith, to call for a review of the actions of the Irving, Texas, school and Police Department. While we certainly support the need for security and to protect any students from any outside attacks, we cannot help but be disappointed by the inappropriate response to such an innocent act. This incident should be a learning lesson of the need to encourage and respect the creativity, intellectual curiosity and leadership skills of all students, and to explore more appropriate ways to manage uncertainty.
While recognizing that school authorities and law enforcement must respond quickly to any such perceived threat, we must question the flawed judgment used in making the situation so much worse by the inappropriate use of handcuffs and a formal arrest, even after the authorities had ascertained the actual (innocent) situation. If for example there were really a perceived bomb threat, why was the entire school NOT evacuated? People worldwide are already noting that a more Common Sense approach to this situation could have prevented the unwarranted and embarrassing overreaction to an unfortunate misunderstanding.
This situation highlights an under-reported problem of bullying of Muslim and Sikh students by fellow students, and even in some cases (like this) by school staff. According to a 2010 survey of Muslim youths aged 11 to 18 conducted by the Washington-based advocacy group Muslim Mothers Against Violence, all 57 respondents reported being called a name because of their faith, including 80 percent who said they had been called “terrorist.” Actions like this by School Authorities and Police set a terrible example and could even validate such bullying by fellow students.
We particularly applaud the White House, Obama Administration, and all the companies, academic institutions and individuals who stepped forward to note how our nation needs to encourage such scientific curiosity and endeavor, and to reward the innovative thinking that has made our nation great for so many years. We need to scrupulously avoid knee-jerk reactions that all too easily seem motivated by racial or religious bias.
ADAMS therefore deplores the fear and the misplaced hate rhetoric against Muslims that have too often framed the way in which situations like these are managed. ADAMS has consistently urged all Americans to be extra vigilant in our common struggle against actions that counter and threaten the very core of our nation’s principles, and to cooperate with Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure justice for attacks on any groups.
It should be noted the biggest threat to schools are the overwhelming amount of school shootings done by Non-Muslims: 74 school shootings in an 18 month period from 2012 to 2014. Reference:
ADAMS continues to work with local law enforcement, and with national Agencies like the FBI Washington Field Office, FBI HQ, and DHS, to assure the safety of all communities. We also hope that all Law Enforcement Agencies will do everything possible to prevent such innocent activities from being turned into situations that irrationally promote speculative fear and bias, and can cause great harm to many innocent lives.
We pray this unfortunate incident will help build a foundation for the trust and good will that has always marked the global image and reputation of the United States, and be a lesson in the need to substitute facts for fear, and not blindly leap to unfortunate (and erroneous) conclusions.