The harmful misconceptions of Muslims in the United States

The harmful misconceptions of Muslims in the United States

Muslim teenager Ahmed Mohamed was walked out of a Texas high school in handcuffs last Monday for bringing a homemade clock to class that a teacher believed to be a bomb. The school’s reaction sparked a debate on the unjust profiling of Muslims in the United States.   


Ahmed Mohamed flashes a peace sign at the camera

14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested after being accused of bringing a bomb to school. It was a homemade alarm clock. (The Guardian)

After the acts of terrorism that took place on September 11, 2001, many Americans started to fear the possibility that Muslim extremists would once again attack. This led to increased profiling of Muslims in the United States and the spread of Homeland Security’s catchphrase, “If You See Something, Say Something.” Was Mohamed really the victim of religious or racial profiling?


Instead of asking Mohamed about his clock, the school went straight to the authorities, going along with Homeland Security’s motto and treating the student as a potential criminal. When the police arrived at the school to meet Mohamed, one of the officers said, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” This statement made Mohamed aware of the fact that he was being profiled for his name and skin color.      


Donald Trump speaks at political rally

(NY Daily News)

On Friday, an unidentified man at a Donald Trump rally told the Republican presidential candidate, “we have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims … we have training camps growing where they want to kill us.” He then asked Trump, “when can we get rid of them?” This statement not only highlighted the common misconceptions surrounding Muslims, but it also showed the fear and anger some people feel for those who follow this religion.   


“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” said Trump. “You know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying bad things are happening.”    


How frequent are terrorist attacks by Muslims in the United States? In 2014, a University of North Carolina study found that 190,000 Americans were murdered since 9/11, and only 37 of these people were killed by Muslim acts of terrorism. According to an FBI study, 94 percent of terrorist attacks in the United States were committed by non-Muslims from 1980 to 2005.


There may be people in the United States who view Muslims as terrorists, but Mohamed’s case showed that this isn’t necessarily the popular opinion throughout the country. After Mohamed was suspended, many voiced their support for the student online with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. President Obama showed his support for Mohamed by inviting him to the White House on Wednesday, which he has since accepted.



Is there a problem with profiling Muslims in the United States? Was the school right to call the police? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.


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