Some Texas officials and anti-Muslim activists continued to suggest more than a week after Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest that there was something nefarious afoot when the 14-year-old student brought a homemade digital clock to school.
Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne said in a Thursday interview with local TV station KDFW that Mohamed’s family had been “non-responsive” to the city’s requests to release police and school records about the incident, which are sealed because he is a minor. She added that based on her conversations with police, she also believes Mohamed “was not forthcoming with information” about his homemade clock when he was arrested.
“I just think common sense prevails,” she told KDFW, referring to Mohamed’s arrest. “Does it make sense? And if not, why?”
Van Duyne touched on the subject of Mohamed’s arrest during a meeting of the Arlington Republican Club on Thursday night, too. She mostly spoke about her experience promoting a bill, aimed at an Islamic tribunal in neighboring Dallas she believes is an “Shariah law court,” that would ban state courts from using foreign law in rulings. But Van Duyne took a few minutes to chastise the media for focusing on her instead of digging deeper into the 14-year-old’s account of his arrest.
“The fact that I’m getting any kind of attention for doing this is scary,” she said. “Why am I not one of many who when I see something, I say something? Why are we not all holding all of our elected officials accountable for saying the things that we’re all thinking?”
She then jokingly contrasted media coverage of herself with press on Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who she said was praised for saying “exactly what the American public is thinking.”
Van Duyne also indicated she believed Mohamed didn’t fully cooperate with police in a Tuesday interview with Glenn Bleck on his The Blaze TV network.
“We’ve heard more from the media than the child ever released to the police when we were asking him questions,” she said. “He told a lot more to the reporters than he ever told to the police. There’s a problem with that.”
But when Beck said that Mohamed’s arrest was a “dog whistle” for Islamists, Van Duyne didn’t quite play along.
“It’s nothing that I really want to face, that that’s true,” she replied. “I would hate to think that that’s true.”
Anti-Muslim activists, including the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney and Jim Hanson, had rallied behind Van Duyne after Mohamed’s arrest. Hanson appeared alongside the Irving mayor in Beck’s studio and went beyond his previous argument that Mohamed brought “half a bomb” into his high school.
“I don’t think there’s any question that this latest event was PR stunt,” Hanson said. “It was a staged event where someone convinced this kid to bring a device, that he didn’t even build … they did that to create the exact scenario that played out. They wanted people to react and they wanted people to portray this kid as an innocent victim.”
A local police union official also suggested that Mohamed brought the homemade clock to school as a stunt in an interview with KDFW. Heath Wester, president of the Texas Municipal Patrolman’s Association, told the news station that Mohamed brought a “hoax bomb” to class with the goal of disrupting the school.
“I think his intent was to see how far he could get with the device and to see what kind of alarmant he could get,” Wester said. “And as you can see now, he’s got what he asked for. He’s gotten that alarmant. He’s gotten that excitement or whatever he was trying to get. He got it.”