Schoolboy Ahmed Mohammed made an electronic clock (not the one pictured above) as part of a science project and took it to his school, MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. The principal of the school, Daniel Cummings, called the police and Ahmed was arrested, handcuffed and interrogated. He was not charged. It should be noted that no actions were taken at the school that would have been taken if the principal really had suspected a bomb was on the premises. Therefore, it is clear that he did not think the clock was anything other than a clock and, thus, Cummings’ decision to call the police is not driven merely an abject lack of intelligence.
The motivation for the school principal’s actions is explained by the mayor of Irving’s relationship with an extreme anti-Islam think-tank called Secure Freedom. This think-tank, that changes its name frequently to avoid having too long a history of bad press, exists to promote an anti-Muslim agenda in the USA. If you have the stomach to read some EDL-style tripe then have a look at the website: Secure Freedom; it includes a deliberately garbled non-analysis of the incident at MacArthur High School. A self-appointed VP of Secure Freedom, Jim Hanson – who claims to be ex-US Army “Special Forces” – is delighted with the exposure his grotty gang has acquired as a result of the arrest and harassment of a child. His unoriginal presentation of and twisted justification for prejudice is given ample space within his contributions on twitter: Hanson tweets. The mayor of Irving, Beth Van Duyne, received an “award” from Secure Freedom for her anti-Islam stance and activity. Typically, she grossly exaggerates and invents problems related to Islam as an excuse to initiate campaigns to denigrate Muslims. It is clear she is a worthy recipient of an award from Secure Freedom. Her “acceptance” speech: Van Duyne speaks.
The connection between the mayor of Irving and Secure Freedom, and the actions of Daniel Cummings is not coincidental. It is a product of a political agenda, both locally in Irving and nationally in the USA. This agenda wafts around the room during the TV debates between the numerous candidates for the Republican Party nomination for presidential candidate, and screams from the screen on Fox News. An intelligent schoolboy with an aptitude for science and invention was used by this agenda.
Beyond the deserved ridicule aimed at Cummings and Van Duyne there is a great response from scientists and inventors to what happened to Ahmed Mohammed. He was wearing a NASA t-shirt when arrested and several NASA employees, including those working on the Mars Rover, have expressed support for Ahmed and invited him to NASA. Mark Zuckerberg, inventor of facebook, said “having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.” He also invited Ahmed to facebook’s headquarters.
The key point that many talented people have made is the aptitude to invent is vital for humanity. This assertion is at odds with the anti-intellect manifesto of the republicans in the USA.