2 years ago
Ramah Jaradat
Commentary
Emily Grams
Mercury Staff

Irving teen receives outpouring of support from across the nation after being detained for taking homemade clock to school

One of the things I like most about people is the capacity we have to stand up for each other when things go wrong. This really proves to me how collective and loving the human race is.


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So, of course, I was delighted to see my view of humanity reinforced when I witnessed the entire nation — including the UTD community — sticking up for Ahmed Mohamed and shaming the injustice that had been done to him.

As a Muslim, I was enraged when racial prejudice reared its head once again on Sept. 14 only about 20 minutes away in Irving. It was infuriating to read about a 14-year-old who was arrested for building a clock because high school faculty suspected that it was a bomb.

Mohamed repeatedly told his teachers and the police that the clock was not a weapon, but the police continued with the arrest anyway. After discovering that proper bomb protocol was not followed and that police interrogated the minor without an attorney present, I concluded it came down to two factors: race and religion.

Seeing so many people on social media feel the same way I did confirmed my suspicions that I was not feeling angry just because I am a Muslim. In fact, seeing the hashtag #istandwithahmed become the top trending Twitter hashtag in the United States brought me joy as I witnessed humanity in action. What made me more ecstatic was seeing people of power — like Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerburg and Hillary Clinton — express their support with the same hashtag.

“Tweeting the hashtag shows that you’re inclined to support victims of misjudgment worldwide,” sophomore cognitive science major Ammar Multani said. “The ignorance against race and religion should be known as a worldwide issue.”

I find it so amazing to see prejudice backfire and see everyone join together to fight against negative social stigmas. In fact, arresting Mohamed because of racial ignorance actually led to more opportunities for the student than he could’ve imagined, like obtaining an invitation to the White House.

“I think it’s amazing that he received that feedback,” Muslim Student Association President Mariam Allahrakha said. “I think it’s very … relieving, you could say, because you know that there are people in power out there who care that justice is being done … and they realized what was done wasn’t right. By him getting praises, it’s spreading awareness … It goes beyond just Ahmed … when something is not right, the people are going to stand up for what is right.”

Overall, even though something terrible happened to young Mohamed, many positive outcomes sprung from the prejudice. If he hadn’t been arrested, the entire nation and people of power wouldn’t have recognized him for his creative efforts. More importantly, it gave the community a chance to voice their opinions and raise awareness about prejudice.

There’s a reason for the saying, “There’s strength in numbers.” Community support has the power to bring change to inequality, and justice to injustice. Through the strength of the community, we have all the tools we need to change the world for the better, one small step at a time.