The price of discrimination was made very clear this week when Ahmed Mohamed, the “Clock Boy,” announced he was moving to Doha, Qatar, depriving our nation of another bright mind because anti-Muslim bigotry in America has driven him away.
Ahmed, 14, was thrust into the public eye when his high school in Irving, Texas, called the police on him for bringing a home made clock to school, thinking it was a bomb and profiling him for his Muslim name. President Obama invited him to the White House, and a flood of support from liberals, technology pioneers and scientific institutes celebrated his industrious passion and inquisitive mind.
On the other hand, the right-wing seized on the case as irresponsible political correctness gone wrong, dissecting every detail of the case and using every possible angle to discredit a fourteen year old and punish him for the crime of being Muslim.
In response to the outpouring of vitriol from the right, a Qatari foundation has given him a full scholarship to study at the Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. They have chosen to reward his curiosity, but the significance of their generosity is much bigger than that.
The Qataris have seized on this incidence as a way to send a message to the world that the Western world will never be accepting of Muslims; that the only solace Muslims will find will be with their own people. America, the so called land of the free, the land of immigrants, has not done anything to prove them wrong. We have squandered a great opportunity here; a chance to show the nations of the world that we are not quite so superficial and ignorant and discriminatory. Division has won; our unity grows ever weaker.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.