Cool Lawsuit, Clock Boy

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, March 19, 2018

Charges of bigotry thrown out.

America’s media culture runs on outrage. Each week brings a new hashtag pushed by the media, meant to reinforce the idea that America is irredeemably racist, sexist, or Islamophobic. Many of these causes and hashtags vanish within weeks. Unfortunately, many Americans recall only the initial sensationalist coverage, not the more prosaic actual story. Such is it with “Clock Boy,” whose saga of alleged discrimination against Muslims ended all but unnoticed this last week, when a lawsuit filed by his family was dismissed.

Ahmed “Clock Boy” Mohamed was detained and questioned in 2015 after bringing what he said was a “homemade clock” to school. At a time when schools have become targets, the authorities in Irving, Texas, suspected it was a bomb, and an image of young Mr. Mohamed in handcuffs went around the world. A police officer detaining a young Muslim wearing a “NASA” shirt is bound to create outrage, and the story got a huge amount of promotion on social media, where #IStandWithAhmed was the trending hashtag. President Barack Obama even invited him to the White House, promoting him as a budding genius in the best American tradition.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch promised a federal investigation.

The mainstream media did little research on the story, instead fomenting outrage or covering the social media phenomenon. Time declared young Mr. Mohamed one of the most “influential teens” of 2015. Other publications portrayed him as a champion of “science,” and he attended Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House, where he posed for pictures with President Obama and former astronaut John Grunsfeld.

It fell to “fringe” websites such as Infowars and Gateway Pundit to look into the story, which soon fell apart. Infowars found young Mr. Mohamed’s “homemade clock” was probably just a hobby kit put into a briefcase, something that could be made easily. Gateway Pundit hunted down the exact kit from a 1986 Radio Shack catalog. As many commentators noted, the “homemade clock” really did look like a “briefcase bomb.” It’s not surprising officials in Irving reacted as they did. It does not at all follow that Mr. Mohamed was arrested simply because of his religion. His family appears to have put the worst possible spin on the incident, seeing “Islamophobia” behind a school acting swiftly on a perceived threat—as if a white student who brought something that looked like a bomb would be treated differently.

Mr. Mohamed’s family was certainly sophisticated enough to milk the incident. Ahmed Mohamed’s father, Sudanese immigrant Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, is a former candidate for the presidency of Sudan, who ran in 2010 and 2015. After the “bomb” was discovered, he often appeared gleeful about the attention his son was getting, and appeared with him in a 2015 video to promote the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). He also used his political party’s website to promote theories that the September 11 terrorist attacks were an “inside job” designed to justify an American invasion of Muslim countries. He claimed that “new immigrants make America great.” Ahmed Mohamed’s sister was suspended in 2009 for allegedly threatening to blow up the school.

Following the media uproar, the family moved to Qatar. However, it filed a libel suit against Glenn Beck and The Blaze for accusations that the incident was a deliberate hoax; an undisclosed settlement was reached. Lawsuits against other commentators, such as Ben Shapiro, failed, and Mr. Shapiro won lawyers’ fees.

The family sued the city and school district of Irving in 2016, claiming violations of civil rights because religion was supposedly a factor in his son’s arrest. The suit was dismissed in May 2017, but refiled. This was the lawsuit dismissed this week, with the Mohamed family ordered to cover all opposing costs of the lawsuit. The family is also prohibited from filing again on the same claims.

This is an ignominious end for an effort that seemingly had the support of the President of the United States, much of the mainstream media, and a huge number of people on social media. One can only wonder how many people who tweeted #IStandWithAhmed even know that the accusations of Islamophobia and racism were dismissed.

Still, young Mr. Mohamed may be back at some point. He says he has “lost his creativity,” but wants to help “change Texas for a better state,” and, because of birthright citizenship, he is “American.” The Mohamed family may not be getting the $15 million they wanted, but “Clock Boy” got more than 15 minutes of fame. He may not be America’s next great scientist, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as a Muslim “civil rights” leader if he ever decides to come back to our country.

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Gregory Hood
Mr. Hood is a staff writer for American Renaissance. He has been active in conservative groups in the US.
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