Comrade Malik wanted to share some of the info that he encounters on a regular basis. This week I got a message from him saying, “They Hate US!!!” He explained that false information about Muslims is being spread through propaganda like the The hidden Agenda of Islamic Immigration (PDF) which was recently placed on Malik’s bunk.
Information like this is what fuels the prison industrial complex and our society’s view of Muslims in the US. It is interesting to receive this information on the same week that Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a clock he made to school. Propaganda like Comrade Malik encountered is the same propaganda that encourages the suspicious mindset that led to Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest.
It was this poisonous mentality that was at work Monday, when school administrators in Irving, Texas, had a Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to school after a teacher said it looked like a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed, a talented 14-year-old with a well-known aptitude for electronic tinkering, told the Dallas Morning News that he built the clock in 20 minutes the previous night to impress his engineering instructor. By 3 p.m., Ahmed was suspended from school and being escorted out of McArthur High School in handcuffs.
The Dallas paper reported that police “may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb” and had an “ongoing investigation” into the device, despite being clearly and repeatedly shown that it is, in fact, a clock. But this easily verifiable fact hardly mattered. The school immediately called the police. Upon first meeting Ahmed, the paper reported, one of the officers exclaimed, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was,” making Ahmed feel “suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name.”
According to “Growing in Faith” (PDF), a report from the Coalition of American-Islamic Relations, 50 percent of American Muslim students in California reported “being subjected to mean comments and rumors about them because of their religion.” (Reporting incidents to an adult such as a teacher or principal had mixed results, with 35 percent saying that doing so “never,” “rarely” or “sometimes” helped.) “Go Home, Terrorist” (PDF), a 2014 report published by the Sikh Coalition found that more than 50 percent of Sikh students report being bullied. The number rose to 67 percent for Sikh youths who wear turbans.
We need to stop the false information about Muslims.