A Muslim ninth-grader in Texas was arrested and interrogated by police after building his own clock as a project for an engineering class, which his English teacher confused for a bomb. We have a transcript of the conversation that led to his arrest, where one person argues that it’s just a clock, but everyone else finds a racist, xenophobic reason for why it isn’t.
A high school English classroom. An alarm clock bell rings. Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student wearing a NASA T-shirt, pulls a clock that he designed for his ninth-grade engineering class out of his backpack and shuts off the alarm. His English teacher immediately notices it and is alarmed. A teacher’s aide stands by watching.
Teacher: What’s that?!
Ahmed: A clock. It’s my project for my engineering class.
Aide: Cool clock!
Ahmed: Thanks! I got an A-.
Teacher sets off emergency alarms, speaks into an intercom. She grabs a stapler.
Teacher: Code black! Code black! There’s an explosive device ready to go off at any moment in this classroom!
Ahmed: But this is just a clock—
Teacher: Shut up, you fucking terrorist! Don’t open your mouth again, or I will staple you to this desk! I’d shoot you, but the liberals have taken our guns from the classrooms.
Aide: Whoa! I really think this is just a clock.
Teacher: Listen to me, teacher’s-aide-whose-name-I-forgot, because your life depends on this: This kid is Muslim. MUSLIM! So he’s obviously predestined to build bombs! And behead people! And fly planes into buildings! They all do!
Aide: No, they don’t. And anyhow, he’s only like 14 years old. You really think he’s a terrorist?
Teacher: These jihadis start early. I saw this video on the YouTubes about ISIS recruiting people to Syria that will terrify you. I’ll pull it up.
Teacher pulls up a video.
Teacher: You see. These terrorists look just like him. If that isn’t proof, then I don’t know what is.
Aide: There’s actually a totally simple explanation for this. He was in an engineering class two periods ago, and they had to build an electronic device as a class project. See, says so here.
Aide holds up paper detailing engineering class project. Teacher crumples paper and throws it away.
Teacher: Seriously, are you fucking stupid? His name is Ahmed Mohamed. A name straight from the jihadi womb. People with that name don’t just “build clocks” for the hell of it. As the saying goes: If it looks like a bomb and/or a clock and it’s held by a brown person with a funny name, it’s a bomb!
A cop enters the classroom.
Cop: I have an arrest warrant for a terrorist who’s built a dangerous bomb. Can you identify the suspect?
The cop scans room, sees Ahmed.
Cop: Never mind. Clear as day which one we’re arresting. The brown one!
Aide: You are all totally racist and xenophobic!
Teacher: Or are we just … heroic?
Cop: Yep, I think we’re heroic.
Aide: Still gonna go with racist.
Teacher: Hahaha, well, maybe you’re naive! Wait. Wait a minute. Or maybe … you’re also a terrorist! Policeman, can you also arrest this teacher’s-aide-whose-name-I-still-cannot-recall for defending the super-evil, armed, dangerous terrorist child?
Cop: Sure thing. His desire to defend a known terrorist indicates he’s clearly a terrorist as well. You know, these Al Qaedas try to recruit some of us good ones by promising us virgins. Not falling for that trick again.
Cop pulls out radio.
Cop: I’m going to need intense backup here. I have a known Islamic extremist trying to bomb a school building and kill everyone inside it. Bring all your men, your weapons and firearms, your extreme force. MOVE IT!
Seven more cops enter, armed to the teeth. They pin down Ahmed although he puts up no struggle. They handcuff him and take him away.
Teacher: Wow. That was a close one.
Cop: Yep, just defending America and saving lives and making the U.S. a better and safer place to live for everyone. Also, fuck science!
Teacher: USA! USA! USA!