“No, it’s just a clock.”
Those were the words repeatedly told to the officers of the Irving, Texas Police Department by 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed. Ahmed, a freshman at MacArthur High school, was arrested on Sept.14, 2015. After being fingerprinted, questioned and having his mug shot taken, Ahmed Mohamed was released to his parents.
Since the incident, the young inventor has been invited to the White House, offered internships (including Google and Twitter), and has his eyes set on the Texas Academy for Math and Science (TAMS) as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Both TAMS and MIT reached out to Ahmed after the incident.
Hey Ahmed- we're saving a seat for you at this weekend's Google Science Fair...want to come? Bring your clock! #IStandwithAhmed
— Google Science Fair (@googlescifair) September">https://twitter.com/googlescifair/status/644219471... 16, 2015
Despite the positive outreach to Ahmed after his arrest, light was shone on a very important issue affecting America: Islamophobia. Islamophobia, as shown by the word, is the hatred, dislike, or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.
Ahmed’s family came to the United States of America from Sudan, a country located in the northern part of Africa. The official religion of Sudan is Islam.
Islamophobia in the United States became prominent in the United States after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The tragedy affected not only the United States, but also every “brown” person in the country and internationally. Not only were Muslims and Islam nationally attacked for being a religion that breeds terrorism, people not associated with the religoin were attacked as well. As the hashtag #afterseptember11 showed on Twitter, many “brown” people in the United States were consistently attacked and discriminated against over something completely out of their control.
After September 11, people with brown skin were targeted, and often assaulted, simply for the color of their skin. No one cared if the person was Muslim, Sikh, Catholic, or any other religion. The only thing that mattered was that their skin was brown like the people that attacked the United States.
That’s racism. That’s prejudice. That’s Islamophobia.
Another example of Islamophobia is a man, in a Donald Trump rally, asserting that America has a problem with Muslims and asking when America can get rid of them.
Nadia Khansa, a student as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, recently wrote an article in which she told a story about being harrassed by a substitutite teacher during school. She recalls, “When I first came to the U.S. in 2006, I had a white, old man as a substitute teacher who angrily pulled my desk in the middle of class and asked if they had been teaching me to make bombs when I was in Lebanon and what I was ‘really’ doing in America. He got fired, but it wasn’t even permanent — this happened in sixth grade, and by the time I was in eighth grade, I saw him in the hallways of Lafayette Middle School subbing for other absent teachers.”
September 11 left many Americans believing that anyone with brown skin was Muslim. This is false. It also left many Americans thinking that every Muslim is a terrorist. This is false. The color of someone’s skin or a person’s religion does not make him/her a terrorist. A person is a terrorist if (s)he commits a terrorist act. al-Qaeda was a group of terrorists. ISIS is a group of terrorists. John Houser, the Grand 16 shooter, was a terrorist. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters, were terrorists. James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado shooter, was a terrorirst.
Race or religion does not make a person a terrorist. Performing terrorist acts makes a person a terrorist.
“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.