“Wake up, sheeple! That clock 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed built is a fraud, and his father has probably hoodwinked us all.”
That’s the conclusion of the bizarre series of tweets by noted atheist Richard Dawkins, who questions Ahmed’s motive for bringing the clock to school, where he was arrested because his teacher thought it was a bomb. Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, and tens of thousands of people online stood up for Ahmed following his treatment at his school and the police station. While Dawkins condemned the arrest, he’s critical of the support Ahmed has received.
He links to a blog post titled “Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves” as well as a YouTube video explaining why the clock is a “hoax.” The general gist of their argument is that Ahmed didn’t invent a clock, or even build one, he just took apart an existing clock and put bits and pieces into a pencil box.
Others have gone even further, suggesting Ahmed’s story is a scam by his father for political point-scoring. Some point out that Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, is a Sudanese immigrant, who ran for president in Sudan twice. Mohamed had previously made headlines while trying fight against Islamophobia. He defended the Quran in a mock trial against a Florida pastor, who eventually burnt the Muslim holy book.
That said, there are some inconsistencies. Mohamed told CNN “it was an alarm clock that he made. He wakes up with it most mornings,” while Ahmed told Dallas News he made the clock in 20 minutes the night before taking it to school. But does this amount to a hoax? Dawkins questions whether Ahmed “deliberately want to be suspected of making a bomb” and arrested, just so he can be seen as a “victim of Islamophobia.”
The response to Dawkins has largely been negative, with some criticizing him for failing to confront the effects of Islamophobia. Dawkins eventually backtracked, beginning to question the authorities’ motives for arresting the school boy and retweeting Obama’s White House invitation to Ahmed.