Ahmed Mohamed's Hometown Has an Alarming History of Islamophobia

September 17th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

Even as millions of people condemned police and school officials in Irving, Texas, this week, there has been no formal apology offered to Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student who was suspended and arrested after he was accused of making a "hoax bomb," which was actually just a homemade clock. Ahmed, a talented tinkerer whose passion for engineering has inspired everyone from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to President Barack Obama, will not be charged, police say.

You'll love how Ahmed Mohamed just responded to the #IStandwithAhmed movement.Read more about standing with Ahmed here: http://bit.ly/1FO6FzX

Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The school has similarly declined to offer an apology, and the mayor of Irving, Beth Van Duyne, has defended the actions of police and school officials who responded to the alleged threat. Van Duyne wrote on Facebook that "I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered."

The first concern for the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department is always the safety of...

Posted by Beth Van Duyne on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Islamophobia in Irving

Though many believe that Ahmed was profiled—that his race and Muslim background contributed to his arrest—Van Duyne "did not mention Mohamed's background in a Wednesday Facebook post reacting to his arrest," Talking Points Memo reported. The mayor, who has earned a reputation as an anti-Islamic crusader in the state, made headlines earlier this year for her efforts to investigate a religious tribunal court that she claimed was operating within the city of Irving and suggested was imposing Sharia Law.

"While I am working to better understand how this 'court' will function and whom will be subject to its decisions, please know that if it is determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action," the mayor wrote on Facebook in February.

Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving. Recently, there have been rumors suggesting that...

Posted by Beth Van Duyne on Friday, February 6, 2015

As it happened, this supposed "Sharia law court" was not based in Irving, nor was it actually functioning as Van Duyne said it was. In a statement published on the Islamic Center of Irving website, the organization categorically declared that "no such court operates on the center's premises," and clarified that the tribunal Van Duyne was referring to, which operated in the Dallas area, was designed to "address a genuine need within our faith community for intra-community arbitration."

"For the most part, we've maintained good relations with the city and our neighbors," Dr. Zia Sheikh, the religious director of the Islamic Center of Irving, told ATTN:. "But things got out of hand when the mayor falsely claimed that we were running a Sharia court out of our mosque."

"I believe she was doing that to pander to her Tea Party conservative base. Sure enough she has been given recognition awards for 'standing up to Sharia.' I'm sure that her actions are contributing to the Islamophobic environment we are seeing, but the positive that we can take from this is that society in general is not like that."


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