Remember the story of the young lad arrested in Irving, TX for bringing a homemade clock into school? His family is seeking $15 million dollars in a lawsuit and has moved with Ahmed to Doha, Qatar, where Ahmed has received a full scholarship to attend the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development.
If you were part of the #istandwithahmed movement, do you get a share of the $15 million dollar winnings?
I don’t think this mean the whole scenario was “staged”, that Ahmed and his family deliberately provoked his school to get him arrested. The school authorities did seem to hold his skin color and religion against his presumed innocence. That part wasn’t contrived. Perhaps a better word is “exploited”.
It could be opportunism. When life gives you a media circus about your adolescent son being wrongfully persecuted by a Texas school, is it opportunism to file a $15 million lawsuit? Maybe. But it’s an understandable move. And not without some legitimacy.
Ahmed’s family are not strangers to the game of politics and media attention. Ahmed’s father is a Sudanese entrepreneur and politician who emigrated to the USA, has started several successful ventures in Texas, and has twice campaigned for the presidency of Sudan (as a major reform candidate). (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Elhassan_Mohamed)
Remember when a man named Terry Jones burned a Quran in 2011? Ahmed’s father publicly debated Jones at a mock trial, defending the Quran when Jones put the Quran “on trial” for “crimes against humanity”. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dove_World_Outreach_Center_Quran-burning_controversy)
So it isn’t surprising that Ahmed’s family might be trying to make political and financial gains from a high-profile media event. And I think it’s debatable how much say Ahmed himself has in this situation; at the time of the “clock incident” he was a 14-year old boy.
Now Ahmed’s almost 20, a college student. How well did you understand your own identity and what you wanted from life at that age?
More than anything else, this story is a disappointment. It’s disappointing that *this* is how the story is developing. It’s disappointing that U.S. universities and businesses are potentially losing a smart young lad. It’s disappointing to those of us who were hoping for a positive story about a budding brilliant young scientist, who was conveniently both Muslim and American.
It’s bad news if this story damages America’s image among intelligent young Muslim men, and among all people who identify with Islam or the countries we call “the Middle East”.
Maybe the story can take another turn. Ahmed could fade into irrelevance. If he pursues a scientific career then he could come up with something cool, something that benefits us all.
Anyway, even if Ahmed’s father is exploiting a situation to his own gain, the situation should not have been exploitable in the first case.
There are bad people here in the USA and in the Middle East who seek power by exploiting differences of religion, appearance, language and nationality.
This is just part of that story.