Ahmed shows hope in fight against U.S. Islamophobia

CMU fails to beat Ivy competitors on tuition, salary (credit: Emily Giedzinski/) CMU fails to beat Ivy competitors on tuition, salary (credit: Emily Giedzinski/)

Last Monday, Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school freshman, brought his homemade clock to school to show to his teachers. Rather than praising Mohamed for his work, his teachers notified the school of a safety threat. Mohamed was arrested, led out of his school in handcuffs, and sent to a juvenile detention center for bringing a "hoax bomb" to school.

Although it may be surprising to hear that a 14-year-old student was arrested for building a clock, it's unfortunately not as surprising to hear that a boy named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for that reason. Ahmed Mohamed is one of many Muslims in the United States who have been treated wrongfully due to widespread Islamophobia.

What happened to Mohamed is sad and discouraging. In a world where a 13-year-old non-Muslim white boy can build a nuclear fusion reactor with the support and funding from his school, and "raise the bar for what young teens can pull off," according to CNET, we shouldn't let fear hold us back. Mohamed's case is an important step is recognizing our own biases and fears.

It is encouraging, however, to see some of the responses on social media supporting Mohamed. Some of the biggest names in tech have reached out and showed support, including experts from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. The President of the United States himself tweeted an invitation for Mohamed to visit the White House.

The outpouring of support in response to Ahmed Mohamed's arrest shows some hope for reducing and eliminating irrational fears of Muslims, which slow and sometimes even prevent progress. As Hillary Clinton said on Twitter, "Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe — they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building."