Last September, a Muslim kid in Texas was arrested after the clock he built and brought to show his schoolteachers was mistaken for a bomb. Most people cried foul. President Barack Obama invited Ahmed “Clock Kid” Mohamed to visit. The “IStandWithAhmed” Twitter account took off.
Afterwards, Ahmed’s daddy took his son back to their native Sudan where the pair visited and took chummy public pictures with Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir — a man indicted with killing his own people, of genocide in Darfur.
How could you? You made a big fuss when a school with a stupid principal called the cops because they wouldn’t believe your clock was just a clock. You screamed injustice and (almost) all of America was there with you. You asked us to stand with you, and we did.
Then you dare stand with a man who oppresses millions. Darfur is home to millions of displaced, hundreds of thousands of dead, thousands of raped women, according to a United Nations report. Bashir risks expulsion to the International Criminal Court every time he leaves Sudan — but that’s okay, why leave when Clock Kid makes house calls and smiles sweetly?
To be sure, Ahmed is a teen, but his older sisters should know better, and his father — some sort of opposition politician — has no excuse.
The same American Muslim activists outraged over his clock arrest — “I imagined Ahmed was my child!” — suddenly had nothing to say. I know, because I searched Twitter and Facebook, praying that some holy, righteous imam shouting about how women shouldn’t wear nail polish would speak out. Ha!
Why don’t we also imagine, as the BBC reported in 2004, “stick-thin infants” who died in refugee camps due to the man Clock Kid cuddled, why not imagine them “throwing up their food because they are too weak to eat it”? Don’t claim ignorance — Clock Kid’s photo-op with Mr. Genocide was splashed over world headlines.
Many American Muslim activists these days have aligned themselves with Black Lives Matter. So let’s compare. Black Lives Matter supports an oppressed Black and partly Muslim minority; Darfur’s population is mainly Muslim, considered Black and oppressed. Why not stand with both?
Perhaps it’s that Black Lives Matter protests a mostly white power structure, a cause we Muslims are happy to join. But in Darfur, it means protesting Arab Muslim power structures; hence, silence.
Well, you say, Black Lives Matter is flaring before our eyes; Darfur is thousands of miles away. Yes, but Iraq, Syria, Palestine are just as far, and we know all about injustices there. So the difference now becomes some ugly compound of whether the killers or the killed are Arab, Black, Muslim, the right kind of Muslim — who knows.
And to those dead set on blowing up Brussels, Baghdad and others to avenge whatever grievance, know your huge double standard of our own Muslim Arab crimes in Darfur is noted. Please lose your underdog hero schtick, you’re just stone-hearted, unjust hypocrites.