After the story of his arrest for a homemade clock went viral, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed received an outpouring of support on social media. He also drew the attention of President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and NASA scientists — each of whom invited the teen to tour their facilities.
“Thank you for your support! I really didn’t think people would care about a muslim boy,” the teen posted on Twitter. “Thank you fellow supporters. We can ban together to stop this racial inequality and prevent this from happening again[.]”
But some high-profile figures maintain the Muslim student’s new-found fame is baseless, and that school administrators acted reasonably.
Taking her outrage to Facebook on Saturday, former governor-turned-reality-tv-star Sarah Palin wrote that Mohamed’s actions were suspicious and Obama’s expression of support was inappropriate.
On his talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher, the host said Mohamed deserved an apology but teachers reacted reasonably in targeting the boy.
“People at the school thought it might be a bomb … because it looks exactly like a f*cking bomb,” he said during a panel discussion with Mark Cuban, Jorge Ramos, George Pataki, and Chris Matthews. “It’s not the color of his skin. Somebody look me in the eye right now and tell me. Over the last 30 years, if so many young Muslim men … and he’s young, 14, but that’s not like it’s never happened before, hasn’t blown up a lot of sh*t around the world. And this kid deserves an apology, because he wasn’t one of them… Over the last 30 years, it’s been one culture that has been been blowing sh*t up over and over again.”
He also pointed out that the idea that Mohamed could’ve brought a bomb to school wasn’t unfounded, as several American teenagers have joined ISIS to the shock of people who knew them well.
Famous atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins agrees that Mohamed suffered an injustice, but the praise he received was uncalled for.
“If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that’s creative. If not, it looks like hoax,” he tweeted. “Disassembling & reassembling is great. But you shouldn’t then claim it was your “invention.”