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A Clock or a Bomb Trigger?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The latest outrage being used to promote the false narrative about unfair treatment of Muslims is the teenager, Ahmed Mohamed, in Irving Texas arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. If you just skimmed the surface and saw the picture of the skinny nerd in the NASA t-shirt in handcuffs it would be easy to see a problem.


And there is one, but it’s not discrimination against a Muslim kid that wouldn’t have happened to a non-Muslim. It’s nanny state, zero tolerance policies that take away the ability to apply common sense to complicated situations. In this case, whether or not to put cuffs on a 14 year old when he brings something to school that causes questions to be asked..

But as far as the other question, was the clock device he brought to school a legitimate cause for concern, the answer is an unequivocal yes. I have built and taught classes on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the clock he brought to school is a dead ringer for the trigger used on many of these homemade bombs.

Whatever Ahmed’s intentions were in bringing his project to school, the result was to create an environment that required the teachers to act. He showed the device to his science teacher who told him to put it away since it looked like a bomb. Later when he had the device in a briefcase and plugged in the alarm on it went off and a second teacher noted that it looked like a bomb.

Once that logical determination was made, the school officials had to act. It was not their job, nor did they have the expertise, to determine the actual purpose of the device. They were required to involve law enforcement to make those judgments and when the police arrived they have policies to follow when faced with a possible homemade explosive device.


Here is a side-by-side comparison of Ahmed’s clock and an Iranian-made IED trigger used to kill US troops in Iraq. Even more so, above is a picture of an IED training device sold to US law enforcement agencies to help them identify and learn how to deal with homemade bombs. They would have been deficient in performing their public safety duties if they had not done a full examination and investigation of the device, it’s presence at school and the person who built it and brought it there.

The grievance mongers of CAIR and other Islamist front groups are using this incident to portray the Irving, TX police and government as anti-Islamic. They point to another incident where Mayor Beth Van Duyne refused to accept an Islamic tribunal in her town that was trying to supplant US law w/ Shariah law. That would have been un-American and Mayor Van Duyne was appropriately American in saying absolutely not. We felt strongly enough about that to award her our Defender of Freedom award earlier this year.

We don’t know why Ahmed built and brought his clock to school, but he and his father were certainly quick to trot out quotes about it happening because of his brown skin, or that it wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t a Muslim. There is zero evidence that Ahmed was singled out due to his religion, and there are numerous examples of non-Muslim kids being suspended for having toy guns, or in one case simply a pop tart chewed into a gun shape.


We can and should take the safety of our children at school deadly seriously. One of the hallmarks of our Homeland Security department’s approach to countering terrorism is the phrase “See Something, Say Something” meaning don’t be afraid to point out potential dangers. In this case the school officials did exactly that and they are being slurred as Islamophobic.

It is time to tell the outrage industry to quit abusing our public servants for doing the jobs we ask them to do. And even more beyond time for us to put an end to attempts by CAIR and others to create false narratives of racism and religious discrimination. We stand with the Mayor of Irving and her police and school officials who acted appropriately.

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