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Arrest of 14-Year-Old Student for Making a Clock: the Fruits of Sustained Fearmongering and Anti-Muslim Animus

By       Message Glenn Greenwald       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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There are sprawling industries and self-proclaimed career "terrorism experts" in the U.S. that profit greatly by deliberately exaggerating the threat of Terrorism and keeping Americans in a state of abject fear of "radical Islam." There are all sorts of polemicists who build their public platforms by demonizing Muslims and scoffing at concerns over "Islamaphobia," with the most toxic ones insisting that such a thing does not even exist, even as the mere presence of mosques is opposed across the country, or even as they are physically attacked.

The U.S. government just formally renewed the "State of Emergency" it declared in the aftermath of 9/11 for the 14th time since that attack occurred, ensuring that the country remains in a state of permanent, endless war, subjected to powers that are still classified as "extraordinary" even though they have become entirely normalized. As a result of all of this, a minority group of close to 3 million people is routinely targeted with bigotry and legal persecution in the Home of the Free, while fear and hysteria reign supreme in the Land of the Brave.

What happened in Irving, Texas, yesterday to a 14-year-old Muslim high school freshman is far from the worst instance, but it is highly illustrative of the rotted fruit of this sustained climate of cultivated fear and demonization. The Dallas Morning News reports that "Ahmed Mohamed -- who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart -- hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High," but "instead, the school phoned police."

Despite insisting that he made the clock to impress his engineering teacher, consistent with his long-time interest in "inventing stuff," Ahmed was arrested by the police and led out of school with his hands cuffed behind him. When he was brought into the room to be questioned by the four police officers who had been dispatched to the school, one of them -- who had never previously seen him -- said: "Yup. That's who I thought it was." As a result, he "felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name -- one of the most common in the Muslim religion."

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Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of The Intercept. He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place (more...)
 

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