Most Americans have forgotten about Ahmed Mohamed, the MacArthur High student who was detained by police in 2015 for making a homemade clock that allegedly resembled a bomb. Although the police released Mohamed a few days after the incident and did not bring him to court, his father made the mistake of filing a defamation lawsuit on behalf of his son.
Instead of letting a situation of miscommunication dissolve into the transient mist of other bizarre news stories that only last a day, the Mohamed family used it as an opportunity to fight Islamophobia. While such a struggle for equal rights is noble and necessary in America, the Mohameds and all of their supporters gathered beneath the wrong banner.
This banner, now tattered, continues to fly as the defamation lawsuit grinds forward. The attorney for the Mohamed family recently agreed on Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne’s dismissal from the case.
This event becomes more significant when one considers that District Judge Maricela Moore dismissed conservative commentator Glenn Beck and his network TheBlaze from the suit, along with the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank, and its executive vice president, Jim Hanson.
The series of dismissals reduces the number of defendants to Ben Shapiro, a political commentator known as the former editor-at-large of the ultraconservative website Breitbart.
While the progress of appealing some of the dismissals and the results of Shapiro’s hearing on Jan. 30 remain unknown at this time, the lawsuit seems to slide toward the slow death of a forgotten and failed case.
This clock looks like a bomb to me, and I doubt I am the only one who thinks so. According to The New York Times, Mohamed showed his invention to an engineering teacher who said it was nice but told him he should not show the invention to other teachers. How strange that a teacher would say these words about a student’s invention, but later events seem to justify this warning.
After Mohamed’s clock beeped in class and another teacher asked to see it, school officials notified the police. This seems reasonable considering Mohamed was walking around with an open suitcase full of several wires and flashing red numbers counting as it made a beeping sound.
Mohamed’s intentions in designing the clock are unclear, so one cannot say the Mohamed family knew this controversy would occur. However, when the Mohamed family filed a defamation lawsuit in response to the alarm Mohamed caused, its actions did not seem justified. Instead of apologizing for the confusion, the Mohamed family wanted to expand the somewhat insignificant event into the long process of a legal struggle.
It is too bad this case was filed at all. American Muslims do face discrimination, but this lawsuit does not improve their situation. In an attempt to improve the image of Muslims in America by fighting racism, the Mohameds turned a minor incident into a massive case that needed no defense and has none.