Monday, 21 September 2015

Ahmed Mohammad the boy engineer with the clock

American presidents and scientists have lamented over the years that American students are falling behind in science, math and technology. President Obama emphasizes this on education and technology. The STEM program is pushing to encourage high school students and even babies to consider science and technology as a major and a top priority in their education. Once upon a time, the United States led the world in space exploration and engineering. NASA is still regarded as one of the best space agencies in the world. However its no longer the only agency exploring the universe. NASA and space technology relies heavily on a team of engineers, technicians, physicists, etc to keep its programs and ideas growing.

Engineers are greatly important to many technological advancements and in everyday life. Alongside the mathematicians, engineers have made sure that mistakes are as minimal as possible with every product big and small that's produced. Ahmed Mohammad, the 14 year old Sudanese American from Irving, TX wants to be an engineer. He is follow in the footsteps of the adult engineers who work day and night to create their own homemade products and prototypes. In his case, Ahmed built a homemade clock and carried it in a plastic suitcase. Anyone who has built clocks or fixed jewelry knows that both materials' extra pieces require a toolkit or carrying case to keep everything safe. Ahmed was following the same rule of thumb. He was so excited to show his new creation to his teacher and class for the class' show and tell. His parents are certainly proud. His teacher surprised him not with elation but mistook Ahmad's clock for a bomb. To add insult to injury he was handcuffed in front of his classmates and held by police to the shock of his parents and the nation. There have been random bomb threats made against a lot of schools in the past across the United States. Students know the consequences of carrying any weapons or a faux explosives to school. No school kid would even think of carrying a disgusted weapon to their campuses. However, a teacher or any school staff that works with engineering students should be able to tell the difference between a homemade clock, an explosive or carrying case. Ahmed and his parents are trying to understand why he went through the ordeal of being arrested by the police and accused of making a bomb. The fact that Ahmed and his parents are Sudanese American Muslims is not being overlooked by anyone. In spite of the fear, President Obama came to the defense of Ahmed calling his clock cool and saying America needed more engineers. Ahmed's local community also came to his defense and his parents remain proud of their engineering son. He was recently made the VIP at a local Google Science Fair. Sadly, there has been backlashed against the poor kid. Sarah Palin . Time Magazine called Obama's support for Ahmed hypocritical. The famed evolutionary biologist Richard Darwkins question Ahmed's motives for building the clock.

Ahmed Mohammad speaks about his arrest and clock 

A steady diet of Islamophobia and propaganda

The media has exceed its success in terrifying the wider world with Islamic terrorism. No other religion gets tied to terrorism and violence as Islam does. Even the Prophet Mohammad is accused of terrorism in absentia. Since 2001, the anti terrorism laws, Patriot Act and islamophobic dragnet of fear has condemned African and African American Muslims (one of the oldest and indigenous American Muslim groups in the U.S.) to collective punishment: FBI surveillance, questioning and racial profiling as well as guilt for terrorist acts by the small, extreme Wahhabi groups. In movies and culture, the public is continuously fed the mantra that Islam or Muslims are out to get us and bring about the end of Western Civilization. Never mind the fact that the Islamic golden age contributed to the renaissance and helped get Europe out of its dark ages when the majority of Medieval Africa and Asia were literate and center of learning in the world. Yes, "they can't be trusted" or "Islam is a backward religion." as the Christian fundamentalists, even secular right wing and moderates declare to the public. No amount of explanation and historical writings arguing the contrary will convince some people that Islam and Muslims are generally peaceful and it is individual interpretation by ISIS and takfiris that punishes everyone.

Sudan background

Sudan is an African country bordering Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan in North eastern Africa. For years Sudan was Africa's largest country until South Sudan gained independence from Northern Sudan in 2011 becoming the newest country in the world and Africa's 54th. The South Sudanese had decades long complaints of marginalization and purposely driven failure to develop infrastructure, brutal racism via military bombings and wars by the Sudanese government in Khartoum. Sudanese Arabs in Khartoum and around the country suffer from an identity crisis that drives the war first between South Sudan and now the Blue Nile, Abyei and Darfur. The Sudanese want to be seen as solely Arab but Sudanese history, culture and Arabic language ties them to rest of Africa like Egypt. As a matter of fact, Sudan and Egypt used to be one country. The North Sudanese are the descendants of Nubians (who are also Sudanese and Egyptian), Ancient Egyptians and Kushites. 

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