Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#AhmedGate

Responses to some of the questions I've been getting:


Does the school have a responsibility to protect kids? 

Of course.


So... what if they really thought it was a bomb? Weren't they justified in their actions?

Then they should have, would have evacuated, unless thats how bad at ‘protecting kids’ they are. 
If they didn’t think it was a bomb, it was wrong to call the cops and have him cuffed.


He didn’t really invent the clock, he’s a fraud.

Give me a break. Kids lie about homework and stuff all the time. Unfair to call him a ‘fraud’ and cast suspicion on his motives without real proof.


Yeah but he isn’t an ‘inventor’ and he’s getting all this praise/attention, even from The White House!

He’s getting attention not because his ‘invention’ was incredible….but because he was treated unjustly, people don’t want his desire for learning to be affected by this bad experience. He was put in handcuffs and there’s no proof that he claimed it was anything other than a clock. 


But some have said the police report lists it as a bomb ‘hoax’…

In my view, it’d be a hoax if he actually tried to scare people into thinking it was a bomb.
Then he’d definitely be at fault. But according to the info available, it doesn’t seem this was the case.


They say this incident was caused by ‘Islamophobia’, what are your thoughts on that term?

I don’t care for the word because it puts the focus on Islam rather than Muslims. Anti Muslim bigotry is a problem. Dislike for an ideology is not the same thing. People should be able to oppose Islam, without being accused of bigotry. This may have been a case of bigotry against a boy because of his religion, which is unfair…and completely separate from criticizing the religion itself. People are not their religions. People deserve dignity and respect, ideas don’t.


Is it possible that Ahmed and his family have some disturbing views stemming from Islam?

He’s a kid. Is it really relevant to *this* story to bring up what his views may or may not be? The key issue here is that a child was humiliated in front of his school. To make matters worse he was new there. I can’t imagine how awful that must have felt, thankfully he’s been shown so much support, it ended well. And yes, anything is possible, he might hold a number of views that I disagree with or find problematic that may or may not stem from his religion. But to assume he holds troubling views because he identifies with a certain faith is unfair. I know of secular minded Muslims who ignore the troubling parts of scripture. If he has a passion for science he should be encouraged, not regarded with suspicion. 


Is this a conspiracy to make America look bad? 

No. America does a fine job on its own sometimes :) see: Trump 


What are your thoughts regarding Dawkins’ recent tweets on Ahmed?

I have a lot of respect for Dawkins, but I don’t always agree with his tweets. 


What would you say if there is info about this being an intentional hoax bomb in the future?

Well, why are we discussing this when there isn't any such info at the moment? If there is evidence he intended to scare people, of course...I'll happily adjust my stance based on new information. There just isn't anything that I've seen yet that isn't a crazy conspiracy theory. 

Yeah but giving him this much importance is an injustice to kids who actually build better things than him.

Again, his 'invention' or lack thereof, is not the focus of the story.



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Let me point out some differences though, because this happened in the US you see a large number of people standing up for Ahmed’s rights, a minority person's rights. Had unfair treatment like this occurred in Pakistan or Saudi, a Muslim country…you wouldn’t have large chunks of the country as well as its leader rallying for minority support. Secularists can be flogged, Christians can be thrown in jail for blasphemy and you won’t hear such outrage from the Muslim population in support of minority rights. You won’t get hashtags from Muslims on a large scale stating #IStandWithApostates, #IStandWithBlasphemers in fact Salman Taseer of Pakistan who chose to fight blasphemy laws got sprayed with bullets instead. His killer celebrated and garlanded by lawyers…because how dare you challenge religion? That is the difference. 

Many vocal critics of Islam (atheists), stood up for Ahmed, and against anti-muslim bigotry. Never do I see critics of ‘atheism’ stand up in support of unfair labelling, mistreatment, misrepresentation of ‘atheists’. That is the difference. 

In fact someone was heard blaming this incident of anti-muslim bigotry on 'new atheists', because yeah we all know how influenced Texas is by (new?) atheism. 

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1 comment:

  1. About not evacuating the school: the teacher apparently though it was the "infrastructure" for a bomb, which is why security and eventually the cops were contacted. The cops took him in because Texas has a hoax bomb law and what he had certainly looked like a bomb, and had produced the effect of a hoax bomb, whatever the intention. So there was no reason for anyone to evacuate the school, and the fact that they didn't doesn't mean anything.

    The school didn't do anything wrong here, except to the extent that schools need to stop going overboard with kids who bring in clocks, make pretend guns out of Pop-Tarts or their hands, etc. And we have no evidence that Ahmed's treatment had a thing to do with him being brown-skinned (and a fair amount of counterevidence since Pop-Tart kid and others who've gotten similar treatment were lily white).

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