This past Tuesday, a Dallas judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the father of the infamous “Clock Boy,” Ahmed Mohamed. In September 2015, Ahmed was detained by school officials and police in Irving, Texas after bringing into school a clock that strongly resembled a clock bomb.
Mohamed then filed the suit on behalf of himself and his 15-year-old son Ahmed, alleging that several media figures had wrongfully and publicly disparaged him and his son in their discussions of the incident. The list of defendants included a neat plethora of conservative commentators, media outlets, and even a politician. The list includes Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire; Glenn Beck, a popular host of The Blaze, and The Blaze itself; Jim Hanson of the Center for Security Policy, and the Center for Security Policy itself; Fox Television Stations; CNN commentator Ben Ferguson; and Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne.
Lawyers from the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed the motion to dismiss on behalf of two of the defendants, the Center for Security Policy and its executive VP, Hanson.
Question Our Motives, I’ll Sue You
Mohamed’s claim of defamation was designed to silence several comments others made about his son’s construction of a clock resembling a bomb. Shapiro appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” in October 2016, labeling the incident a hoax by which Obama was duped due to his own “pre-stated biases against police and against people whom he perceives to be Islamophobic.”
But perhaps the most incisive comments came from Hanson, who offered a stunning verdict on the event during a September 2016 appearance on The Blaze. He characterized the stunt as specifically designed to prompt an aggressive response from community officials, a response that would elicit sympathy for these supposed victims of Islamophobia.
Hanson argued that the backlash then would be instrumental in creating a “Muslim privilege exemption” in which members of the community would later hesitate to report something amiss out of fear of being labeled a racist. Hanson identified Mohamed Mohamed’s ties to the Council on American–Islamic Relations and CAIR’s subsequent associations with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, before eventually labeling the entire trick as a form of “civilization jihad.”
“Civilization jihad” is a controversial term that comes directly from the Brotherhood’s internal deliberations, in a document called the “Explanatory Memorandum.” It was discovered in the archives of high-ranking Muslim Brother Ismail El-Barasse and entered into evidence in the Holy Land Trial—the largest terror-finance prosecution in the nation’s history.
The document describes the Brotherhood-led “settlement process” of Islam in America as a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated.” “Civilization jihad” morphs the social arena into a proverbial battlefield, suggesting that culture can be a costly casualty if eroded sufficiently and patiently. What makes it particularly pernicious is that society itself abets its fundamental “undoing.”
Lawfare or Defense against Defamation?
Hanson alleged Ahmed’s father had designed the hoax to challenge our constitutional liberties by preventing any criticism of Islamic doctrine. David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, reiterated his client Hanson’s concerns and asserted during the hearing that the lawsuit was a primary example of “lawfare,” aimed to silence critics of Islam, jihad, sharia, and terrorism and publicly shame those who dared to draw a strong linkage between the terms.
Yerushalmi noted: “The Islamists employ the progressive mainstream media to label any public criticism of a sharia-centric, jihad-driven Islam as ‘Islamophobic,’ and they add fear and financial ruin to the equation by utilizing the legal system to file SLAPP actions.”
While we can’t read the Mohamed family’s minds, if they had won their defamation case, the mechanisms of our judicial branch would have condoned the very destruction of our First Amendment rights. Irrespective of the motives behind the clock incident, a victory for Mohamed would have helped undermine a bulwark tenet of our belief system, at our own hands.
While the dismissal of charges spells a constitutional victory, the “clock-boy” hoax serves as a stark reminder of both the press and the Obama administration’s irrational race to identify incidents as “Islamophobic” with little to no evidence.
This dismissal comes on the heels of a recent plane hoax in December, in which a YouTuber named Adam Saleh filmed a video of himself apparently being escorted off a Delta flight for speaking Arabic. Delta’s double-down on removing Saleh, combined with firsthand accounts of the scene, suggest the entire incident was a hoax designed to publicly humiliate innocent people for being “Islamophobic,” despite no evidence of such sentiment.
A few days later, a young woman in New York pulled the same maneuver, proclaiming that a group of young white men had ripped her hijab off while she rode the subway. That incident, too, proved to be entirely false, yet it did not prevent a frenzy of sympathy on social media towards the contrived victims.
The recent spate of faked hate crimes sets a dangerous precedent for steadily delegitimizing genuine hate crimes. Falsifying hate crimes to nurture a rising narrative does little to legitimize said narrative. Like all hate crime hoaxes, it does the opposite, instead laying the seeds of skepticism for future incidents where skepticism may not even be warranted.