The Young Turks Link Ahmed Mohamed’s ‘Bomb Clock’ Fiasco To Atheists


The story of a 14-year-old Muslim boy from Texas who was arrested on suspicion of taking a bomb to school has been widely commented on this week. Poor Ahmed Mohamed, a student who brought his homemade clock project into school, promptly found himself handcuffed and in police custody. Despite telling the teachers in charge that he was in possession of nothing more than a clock, they called in the police anyway. Perhaps in their apparent wisdom they deemed his name too Boko Haramish to take the chance. Who knows?

It’s one of those stories that has you asking: “Really? Surely there must be more to it”. Well, it appears not. It’s also odd that those intuitive enough to identify a potential ‘bomb’ on the premises weren’t proactive enough to evacuate them. This goes some way as to demonstrating how credible they truly considered this ‘threat’.

This kind of unjust treatment is not the best way to encourage and inspire budding young innovators, I hope you will agree.

Anyhow, it appears this story has a happy ending after all. This well publicised injustice has led to a host of well-wishes from famous entrepreneurs, giant electronic firms and even an invite to the White House from The President himself. Good for Ahmed.

This brings me to the curious case of this item from online ‘news’ network ‘The Young Turks’.

Ana Kasparian says:

“. . . [Mohamed is] a victim of the fear-mongering we’re talking about now, Cenk. The same atheists who spend all their time debating about which religion is the worst and coming to the conclusion that Muslims are the most violent and they should be the most feared and we should put all of our attention on them—okay, that’s the kind of fear-mongering that leads to an innocent 14-year-old being arrested for doing a science project.”

Now, I’m fully aware that this is an isolated excerpt, so I would urge you to watch the full segment. However, nothing contained within excuses the fact that Ana Kasparian felt atheists (vocally critical of Islam) deserved special mention when pondering the inspiration for an anti-Muslim incident – in Texas of all places.

The Young Turks (Cenk Uygur especially) have been heading down this bizarre path for sometime. It seems they have their straw bogey man, and it’s a ‘new atheist’. Fox News took a similar route recently when Bill O’Reilly blamed atheism for the tragic murder of two TV journalists. You’ll never run the risk of a fatwa this way I suppose.

The Christian Right often accuse atheists of being too afraid to criticise Islam. Liberal Regressives like Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian accuse atheists of only criticising Islam. Both groups of people are damaging this conversation.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

[Image Credit/ The Guardian]


  • I’ve mentioned this in other forums, but I don’t see any reason to even assume this was bigotry. This sort of thing happens frequently in the United States to students of all races.

    Here’s a kid who was arrested for a writing assignment where he wrote about shooting a dinosaur.

    Here’s a 7 year old who was cuffed for bringing a nerf gun to school. Both of them were white.

    As a result, I can point you to many instances of non-Muslim kids getting treated identically for equally ridiculous ‘offenses,’ so I don’t see any reason to assume this had anything to do with hatred of Muslims, any more than Dinosaur Kid was arrested because he’s white. So they start from the position that it must have been bigoted (even though there’s cause to doubt that) and then lurch into attacking atheists for something atheists didn’t do and which might not even have been based on bigotry in the first place.

    Pretty much par for the course for the Young Turks, I guess.

    • These are examples of common sense being replaced BS zero tolerance laws. It is not evidence that this wasnt racism. In the hands of a white kid a clock would not look like a weapon.

      • Did a toy nerf gun look like a weapon in the hands of a white kid? Ahmed’s clock looked more like a bomb than a nerf gun looks like a glock, so if anything the two examples I gave you are more ridiculous than Ahmed’s ordeal.

        “In the hands of a white kid a clock would not look like a weapon.”

        How do you know? Like I said, white kids have gotten arrested for MORE RIDICULOUS things than Ahmed was.

        • I agree the white kid arrests are ridiculous. They are the result of some sort of societal panic disorder. Never the less zero tolerance policies that any kind of gun or gun like action such as pointing your finger at someone removes the discretion of a reasonable response to an obvious NON threat. I doubt there is a policy that says a nerd with a clock requires police intervention.

  • Ana and Cenk are going the way of PZ Myers.

  • You took this out of context, you should have included the segment before where she doesn’t single out atheists. You wrote this whole blog post for some sound byte you took out of context? WTF loser.

  • To be fair, not all gracelessly aging Turkish male blowhards have their heads up their asses. I didn’t say ALL gracelessly aging Turkish male blowhards have their heads up their asses. Just some of them. Well, Cenk Uyger, anyway.

    The Texas schools, and the law enforcement departments in particular, have been taking their marching orders from the New Atheists since at least 1965. I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to start rounding up the clock-carrying Muslims. With Dawkins and his cronies calling the shots in Texas, if you want to be making timepieces, you damn well better be blind.

    • Given that ‘New Atheists” is a very recent term being used like ‘Islamophobia’ to silence opinion, I wonder how the school board could be run by so called ‘New Atheists’ since 1965.

      Or is it just you want to force religion into education, when by statute and the constitution they must be separate as per the 1st Amendment 1791.

  • This whole controversy has bugged me since Sam Harris was on Bill Maher. All religion is evidence of pre evolutionary thinking, fear and maybe spoiled meat. This problem is not about religion except for that christians are just sure theres a war against them and most muslims are easily identifiable. Most americans and europeans are pissing there pants that brown people will assume control of the planet and hunt them from atop horses. This is racism plain and simple.

  • “It’s one of those stories that has you asking: “Really? Surely there must be more to it”. Well, it appears not.”

    There actually just might be more to this story after all. Have a read here:

    video on a similar note here:

    Also of interest is what Marc Cuban had to say on Bill Maher’s show after talking to the kid personally.

    I think it’s abundantly clear there was no innovating to speak of here and that the media narrative is certainly wrong on this part. The teacher’s attention seem perfectly understandable to me, while the arrest sounds like an all too common US over reaction. Now whether there’s even more to this story as can be sensed from some of the links I posted, I really don’t want to speculate and just hope it gets confirmed either way, because we surely don’t need yet another story ripe for instrumentalisation.

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  • I Don’t agree with Cenk on this but I believe this is what he’s referencing to

    • Right, and Richard Dawkins expressed some skepticism about the kid’s intent as well. I share that skepticism. He told someone “I told you I’d be famous on the Internet one day”–I think the whole idea was to make a deniable bomblike thing, get in trouble for it, and then take to social media to gin up a big sympathy/protest type deal. Not so sure he intended to get arrested, or to get quite THAT famous.

  • Again I don’t agree with but this is probably what they were talking about

    • Some religious people (like I said I don’t agree with TYT comments) who are hateful against Muslims regardless of what Bill Maher (who some if not most religious ppl hate) said and run with it saying even Liberal Atheist knows Muslims knows they are the worst.

  • Really, special treatment is suddenly problematic ?!
    Exclusivity of one over another bothers your tender sensibilities ?!
    How inconsiderate of Young Turks to focus their optics, so selectively, on neocon-hasbara atheists.
    Is this kid religious, a devoted Muslim, and if so isn’t he stupid ?

  • Anna has clearly just started telling Cenk what he wants to hear. She didn’t think any of this until he started ranting about it.
    Such a disappointment from someone who seemed so principled. Guess she’s just trying to hang onto her job cos Cenk’s clearly got a screw loose on this issue.

What do you think? Leave some comments!