Richard Dawkins, ever the skeptic, isn’t buying the official “clock” tale told by Muslim high school student Ahmed Mohamed.
The famous atheist went on Twitter on Sunday and shared a video by electronics expert Thomas Talbot, who demonstrated the fraudulent nature of the ninth-grade MacArthur High School student’s claims. The young man was temporarily detained by law enforcement personnel Sept. 14 and then suspended when school officials thought he created a homemade bomb.
Mohamed insists he invented a clock, but evidence indicates he may have taken parts from an existing clock and placed them inside a suitcase.
“All he did was remove the plastic case from the alarm clock. This is not an invention. This is not something that someone built or even assembled,” Talbot said in his video, WND reported Sunday.
“If this is true, what was his motive?” asked Dawkins on Twitter. “Whether or not he wanted the police to arrest him, they shouldn’t have done so. If the reassembled components did something more than the original clock, that’s creative. If not, it looks like hoax.”
Dawkins immediately faced backlash to his tweet, to which he responded “He didn’t only claim to have built it. He claimed, on Youtube, that it was his INVENTION. … Possibly wanted to be arrested? Police played into his hands? Anyway, now invited to White House, crowdfunded etc.”
The 74-year-old atheist later apologized if his “passion for the truth” came across as “over the top,” the Huffington Post reported.
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Fellow famous atheist Bill Maher also cast a questioning eye on Mohamed, saying on his HBO “Real Time” show Friday, “People at the school that it might be a bomb, perhaps because it looks exactly like a f***ing bomb,” Mediaite reported. “This kid deserves an apology. No doubt about it, they were wrong. But can we have a little perspective about this? Did the teacher really do the wrong thing? … What if it had been a bomb? … Somebody look me in the eye right here and tell me, over the last 30 years, if many young Muslim men (and he is young, 14) haven’t blown up a lot of s**t around the world?”
NBA owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks told Maher he spoke with school employees in Irving, Texas, who said Mohamed got through six periods of school before there was any trouble.
“One of the teachers, an English teacher apparently, said ‘Look, you’ve got to put it in your backpack because it’s going to make people nervous and it’s making me nervous,’” said Cuban. “And again, second hand, he wasn’t responsive [to instructions] at all.”
Ahmed, who has been invited to the White House by President Obama, said he plans to transfer to a new high school.