On Monday afternoon, an unassuming kid— a nerd, a geek, with his glasses and his NASA shirt — was led away from his Irving, Texas, school in handcuffs, for all his classmates to see. A perp walk. His crime was building something that, in the wild imaginations of a security-paranoid society, might be misconstrued as a bomb or, as the police who arrested the young student suggested, a “hoax bomb.” “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation,” a police spokesman said….
The significance of this misunderstanding—though the word seems a drastic understatement—cannot be chalked up simply to the appearance of the homemade digital clock. Instead, we must look to the student’s identity, his name….
Mohamed’s ordeal shone a spotlight on our national Islamophobia problem.