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Author Topic: 9th Grader Arrested for Bringing a Clock to School
Pyrtolin
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quote:
When the 'clock' is removed from the bag there will be a moment of uncertainty on the teacher's face reflective of the thought "what...the hell...is that?" where Ahmed's Muslim reputation and the fact of a beeping unknown thing will immediately jump into everyone's minds for a moment.
Except, of course, he didn't pull it out in class- he waited till after class and then showed it to the teacher privately in order to explain and apologize for the interruption.
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TomDavidson
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I was just going to mention that.

Like I said, there's not really any reasonable construction of events that actually makes this seem like an intentional attempt at humor, unless we first presume the kid is a freakish alien who doesn't understand our human ways.

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jasonr
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No it sounds exactly like kid humour. I'm amused that you guys are so baffled by something so banal and common.
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Fenring
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Guys, I'm not claiming that my scenario is actually what happened. Since it didn't go down that way obviously either this scenario wasn't the case, or it didn't go as planned by Ahmed. Either way Tom had expressed doubt that there could be anything humorous in that kind of joke, and my sole purpose was in demonstrating the punchline to you. The other steps are merely suggestions, and in fact the part of checking the bomb with the science teacher is an embellishment on my part that probably gives the kid too much credit (i.e. confirming that the plan will work).

The point is that fooling everyone for a moment could be funny to a kid. That's it. I didn't say this is what happened. It doesn't have to have anything to do with a 'bomb scare' for him to have wanted to amuse himself by momentarily making everyone doubt themselves so that he could end it with a chuckle.

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Pyrtolin
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Sure, but that's non-controversial, since it doesn't relate to this situation where the kid in question made an effort to go out of his way to not cause a fuss, and it was only the second teacher, who clearly did not think it was actually a bomb, that decided to escalate the situation without regard for any actual potential danger.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
No it sounds exactly like kid humour. I'm amused that you guys are so baffled by something so banal and common.

I don't think there is any bafflement - if there is its pretend. The goal is to paint rampant islamphobia in America. Once you realize that, it all makes senses.
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AI Wessex
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That reminds me, did we ever hear anyone admit they were wrong about other well-known left-wing government conspiracies, like the DHS ammo stockpiling or Jade Helm? Have the Walmart hostages been released yet?
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Wayward Son
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Actually, there is very little to be baffled about.

Although it is interesting to speculate on the precise motivations of Ahmed for bring the clock to school (assuming you don't believe his story), it is really secondary to the reaction by the officials involved.

There was no need to call the police, arrest him, and lead him off handcuffed. The officials' reaction was ridiculous.

I still maintain that it is quite obvious that Ahmed did not intend for his clock to be mistaken for a bomb or a "suspicious device" when he made it and brought it in. Perhaps he took the opportunity to have a little joke after he found out it looked a little menacing, but it is unlikely considering his behavior. But even if he did, it still does not excuse those in charge from overreacting.

It is this overreaction that is the worst part of this whole incident. We can discuss whether it was motivated by racism or by our increased paranoia, but mainly for understanding how we can prevent such craziness in the future.

It is the officials' reaction and motivation that is important, not Ahmed's.

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Fenring
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We're discussing Ahmed's motivation for two reasons. First, because the media initially portrayed him in a certain light to fit a narrative of 'innocent Muslim a victim of racism.' If his character doesn't fit their portrayal it would betray the fact that the initial description had a political/social angle furthering a cause unrelated to Ahmed.

Secondly, the legality of the situation very much hinges on both his intentions and on the minor details of what he did. Making something bombish by accident (i.e. being unaware of it) is probably a no-no but not serious; making a bombish thing as a joke is criminal. Big difference.

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D.W.
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Is it school policy to contact the police in the event of a bomb hoax even if it is obvious there is no real threat?

Is it police policy to arrest anyone suspected of perpetrating a bomb hoax even after confirming there was no real threat?

Is it police policy to handcuff anyone being arrested even if they are a young kid who is unlikely to be a threat?

Without knowing all those answers I can’t say how bad of a mess they all made of it. We could fault them for enforcing rules we (and possibly they) don’t agree with, but it wouldn’t necessarily be evidence of abuse or Islamophobia / persecution.

My question would be if it was school policy to act as they did, why wasn’t the science teacher disciplined for not following it? If it was police policy to act as they did why not question the science teacher as a possibly co-conspirator? Yes, I’m still stuck on that first teacher being reckless and negligent.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Is it school policy to contact the police in the event of a bomb hoax even if it is obvious there is no real threat?

Is it police policy to arrest anyone suspected of perpetrating a bomb hoax even after confirming there was no real threat?

Both irrelevant since there was no bomb hoax in the first place- if you want to peg someone for perpetrating a bomb hoax, then it's the second teacher that escalated the situation as if it was a bomb or bomb hoax, despite knowing fully well that there as no bomb or even attempt to pass something off as a bomb after being privately shown the clock.
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D.W.
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Act upon suspicion that an object may have been intended to startle others by characteristics that could be equated to an improvised explosive device. Is that better than potential bomb hoax?

Whether I think a translucent plastic squirt gun could possibly be mistaken for an actual lethal firearm or not is irrelevant if school policy is immediate suspension.

Whether I think any reasonable student or staff would "fall for it" if I thought someone brought in a fake bomb (as I evaluated the device) is irrelevant if school policy is to contact the police.

Those may not be the policy of this school. I don't know. But knowing if this was people "losing their poop" because "OMG muslim bomber!" or if they are just following the rules is very relevant.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Act upon suspicion that an object may have been intended to startle others by characteristics that could be equated to an improvised explosive device. Is that better than potential bomb hoax?
Had it had any characteristics that might suggest that it was intended to make people think it was an explosive, sure. And if there was any evidence that there was any intent to show it to anyone one that might mistake the fact that it might slightly resemble a stage prop representation of an explosive for it being and explosive, sure. But since it in no way actualyl resembled an explosive device and active care was being taken to keep it out of sight, there's no reasonable basis for assuming that there was an attempt to perpetuate a hoax. The only hoax involved was the teacher that invented that excuse out of whole cloth in order to start a process of hassling the student.
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D.W.
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quote:
Had it had any characteristics that might suggest that it was intended to make people think it was an explosive, sure.
If you don't look at the pictures and see "Hollywood bomb prop", I can't make you see it. There is no debate or argument. You see it, or you don't.

The "beep" could be a coincidence or intent. Don't know, don't care. I understand your outrage if you don't "see it".

I would rather we were somewhere between the "no chance at all, no action needed" and "drag him out in cuffs". If I had to choose what actually went down vs. doing nothing though? I'd rather read about this happening again so we can all debate if it is racial/religious profiling and if his rights were abused.

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AI Wessex
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The problem with the bomb hoax supposition is that it assumes pernicious intent. What exactly would be a positive outcome for Ahmed if he indeed tried to make officials in the school (and police) believe he was trying to blow up the school? I don't care how young or old he might be, that would be utterly stupid, not just a schoolboy prank gone bad. You all seem to believe that he was trying to get them to think that's what he intended, and then somehow believe that the school and police overreacted. That's one or two too many assumptions for me.

Consider the story that Rafi parroted here that his sister told another student she wanted to blow up the school. Yes, no, maybe? OK, now consider that she was given a three day suspension for doing it. Neither one of them is thrown in jail and tried for terrorism or threatening mass murder, they just get three day suspensions. There is something seriously wrong about both of these scenarios.

Now add to it that some people (Rafi included) want to blame the father for some kind of role as an instigator or perhaps even closet terrorist himself. Really? The whole family is full of dimwit nimwit wannabe Muslim extremists? And all any of them do is keep - sort of - threatening to do bad things? Really?

To remind you, this happening in a town where the mayor is on a mission to keep sharia law out of the legal system because, you know, it's such a threat.

Really?

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NobleHunter
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It's not a bomb hoax 'cause he didn't do anything to present it as a bomb. At worst it was going to be a bomb hoax but it was stopped by the teachers before it was carried out. It certainly didn't need police intervention because it's not illegal to simply possess something that looks like a fake bomb.

I'm less certain about school discipline but unless the kid had a history of being disruptive, I'd think holding on to it until the end of class with a lecture about how serious it could have been if it had been mistaken for a bomb would do.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
What exactly would be a positive outcome for Ahmed if he indeed tried to make officials in the school (and police) believe he was trying to blow up the school?

Are you joking? This is the first time in a long time I've been tempted to use all caps. Somehow reading in this thread is being done very poorly. NO ONE has said he wanted officials to think he was going to blow up the school. What part of this don't you understand? Even though it's not outside the realm of possibility no one here thinks it's the case and no has argued anything in this regard.

Man, so much wasted space on nonsense.

quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
it's not illegal to simply possess something that looks like a fake bomb.

This may be a state by state issue, but I'm pretty sure it's illegal to possess something that looks like a bomb. If you took something like that into a subway you'd be arrested for sure if they saw it.
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D.W.
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quote:
The problem with the bomb hoax supposition is that it assumes pernicious intent.
OK, I see here how “hoax” is a bad choice of words. Even when I used “suspected of perpetrating hoax”. A “bomb scare” is probably a better phrase. As it doesn’t come with the intent baggage.

quote:
You all seem to believe that he was trying to get them to think that's what he intended, and then somehow believe that the school and police overreacted.
I’ve suggested, with the caveat of it being unlikely, that the intent was to startle people enough that they had the, “Is that a bomb?” moment but dismiss it fast enough as to not cause total anarchy and in doing so insure “serious consequences” for the stunt. To get a rise out of people and poke fun at the fact that they made the “unreasonable” connection of a Muslim kid with a time display made them think first of bomb. This would both startle and make them feel shame for being startled almost at the same time.

Too complex/ironic a plan for a 14 year old that shows an improbable mix of self-awareness of political climate and naiveté about the seriousness of even hinting at a bomb scare? Most likely. The “joke” isn’t a bomb scare/hoax. The “joke” is getting right up to the edge of that line and making others self-conscious about the ugly places their minds take them. He missed his mark slightly if that was the intent. Or did he stick the landing? I honestly don’t know.

quote:
Really? The whole family is full of dimwit nimwit wannabe Muslim extremists?
No, if you buy into that, the thinking is they are shrewd activists willing to orchestrate events which highlight how quickly we assume the worst. I guess in theory they would want to be media martyrs (up to probably fines or light jail time as the biggest risk) and vilify their community, and shame them into a less reflexive and more logical behavior. I don’t think any of us are suggesting this family, even with an activist dad using his children as pawns, want to hurt anyone.

[ October 07, 2015, 02:37 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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NobleHunter
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quote:
This may be a state by state issue, but I'm pretty sure it's illegal to possess something that looks like a bomb. If you took something like that into a subway you'd be arrested for sure if they saw it.
I'm pretty sure you'd have to do something to present it as a bomb for it to be a criminal act. Just having it in your possession shouldn't be sufficient. Though one could make the argument that taking one onto the subway would show intent.

It's like oregano. Just having it isn't a problem. Putting it into dime bags and telling people it's weed is.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
If you don't look at the pictures and see "Hollywood bomb prop", I can't make you see it. There is no debate or argument. You see it, or you don't.

To be clear- I look at the pictures and see bomb prop. I do not see bomb. The features that make it look like a prop are what make it pretty clear that it's not a bomb, particularly those that make it look like a clock. I could see it confusing kids that may be more informed by hollywood than reality, but it clearly didn't fool either teacher that saw it, so short of actually showing it to other kids and suggesting that it's a bomb, there's no evidence to support a bomb hoax or the notion that there was any real danger of someone mistaking it for a bomb.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
It's like oregano. Just having it isn't a problem. Putting it into dime bags and telling people it's weed is.
Putting a clock into a pencil case and telling people not to worry, that it's just a clock, is not a problem.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
If you don't look at the pictures and see "Hollywood bomb prop", I can't make you see it. There is no debate or argument. You see it, or you don't.

To be clear- I look at the pictures and see bomb prop. I do not see bomb. The features that make it look like a prop are what make it pretty clear that it's not a bomb, particularly those that make it look like a clock. I could see it confusing kids that may be more informed by hollywood than reality, but it clearly didn't fool either teacher that saw it, so short of actually showing it to other kids and suggesting that it's a bomb, there's no evidence to support a bomb hoax or the notion that there was any real danger of someone mistaking it for a bomb.
And again, no one thought it was a bomb. If they had, they would have called the bomb squad and evacuated the school.
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D.W.
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Yep, this never had anything to do about protecting students from an explosion. It boils down to questions of policy, bigotry, intent, and/or teaching the kid a lesson on why that wasn't funny. Oh, and politics.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
To get a rise out of people and poke fun at the fact that they made the “unreasonable” connection of a Muslim kid with a time display made them think first of bomb.
Or anything with a time display, since the time display, in ad of it self, was good evidence that it was not a bomb. It might have been evidence that it was a prop of a bomb, but applying that hollywood dramatic convention pretty much screams "not a bomb"
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Yep, this never had anything to do about protecting students from an explosion. It boils down to questions of policy, bigotry, intent, and/or teaching the kid a lesson on why that wasn't funny. Oh, and politics.

Which, done in this way, is extremely abusive. The non-abusive way would be to explain why, if it were a hoax, why it wasn't funny. Abusing authority in order to "teach a lesson" undermines that authority and respect for the system, while encouraging people to buck it in the future.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
What exactly would be a positive outcome for Ahmed if he indeed tried to make officials in the school (and police) believe he was trying to blow up the school?

Are you joking? This is the first time in a long time I've been tempted to use all caps. Somehow reading in this thread is being done very poorly. NO ONE has said he wanted officials to think he was going to blow up the school. What part of this don't you understand? Even though it's not outside the realm of possibility no one here thinks it's the case and no has argued anything in this regard.

Man, so much wasted space on nonsense.

I agree that a huge (YUGE) amount of speculation here is unwarranted, as is your USE OF CAPS that have floated by (mine are ok, of course). No one said he wanted people to think he wanted to blow up the school. Reading alert: I said supposing he might have wanted people to think that is not credible; further, the claim that his intent was to present a bomb hoax is on every page of this thread. Why else would someone present a bomb hoax unless their intent was to get a reaction suggesting they believed it was not a hoax? You should get in trouble for that, which as far as we know, he steadfastly denied every time he was asked.

You don't walk into a school and tell people you have a bomb hoax. You either tell them you have a clock or a bomb. Eventually, they figure out you perpetrated a hoax. In this case, lots of people don't believe it was either a bomb or a clock, but maybe just a clock hoax and are somehow blaming him for that.

Fenring, sorry if you can't grasp my meaning sometimes, but it's not for lack of trying on my part.

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D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Yep, this never had anything to do about protecting students from an explosion. It boils down to questions of policy, bigotry, intent, and/or teaching the kid a lesson on why that wasn't funny. Oh, and politics.

Which, done in this way, is extremely abusive. The non-abusive way would be to explain why, if it were a hoax, why it wasn't funny. Abusing authority in order to "teach a lesson" undermines that authority and respect for the system, while encouraging people to buck it in the future.
I agree. If this was against policy, or there was no policy in place, and this was just to "teach a lesson" it was worthy of the criticisim it's getting.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
To get a rise out of people and poke fun at the fact that they made the “unreasonable” connection of a Muslim kid with a time display made them think first of bomb.
Or anything with a time display, since the time display, in ad of it self, was good evidence that it was not a bomb. It might have been evidence that it was a prop of a bomb, but applying that hollywood dramatic convention pretty much screams "not a bomb"
No, it doesn't. Not even remotely.
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Pyrtolin
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A display that both weakens the integrity of the casing and only actually serves to provide dramatic effect for a viewing audience certainly suggests that something that's not a bomb, without even getting to the relative flimsiness of the casing and lock. Unless your basis for what a bomb looks like is purely Hollywood, then it doesn't look like a bomb. On the other hand, if that's all you're basing your identification on, then you should have the sense to know you have no clue what a bomb looks like. He may as well have been carrying a big black ball with a fuse and the word "ACME" stamped across it.
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TomDavidson
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To be fair, I once built a bomb that was essentially a big black ball with a fuse on it. [Smile]
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AI Wessex
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I once built a clock that didn't work. In today's atmosphere someone might suspect it was not really meant to be a clock at all...
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JoshCrow
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So long, clock kid.

Depending on how you saw this story, he has either been chased away by scary American Islamophobes... or his family has cashed in his best offer and made off like a bandit to a place where nobody will ask him further questions.

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kmbboots
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The Qatar Foundation does good work.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
So long, clock kid.

Depending on how you saw this story, he has either been chased away by scary American Islamophobes... or his family has cashed in his best offer and made off like a bandit to a place where nobody will ask him further questions.

In a fundamental sense he didn't pick a side, but changed the narrative. Most people in the US don't have enough information about Qatar or the Foundation to even hazard a guess as to what his family's motivations might be or what it will mean for him. That includes me.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
So long, clock kid.

Depending on how you saw this story, he has either been chased away by scary American Islamophobes... or his family has cashed in his best offer and made off like a bandit to a place where nobody will ask him further questions.

At least he'll now be in an environment where they truly appreciate the repackaging and repurposing of electronic timing device.
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TomDavidson
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Way to make a case against Islamophobia, G#.
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JoshCrow
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Ahmed made a case and that's what started this mess. [Razz]

[ October 21, 2015, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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TomDavidson
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Ten bucks says he could get it into the Tate if he called it "A Pencil Case Against Islamophobia."
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D.W.
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How was "A Case Against Islamophobia" not the initial title of this thread? Wayward, try harder next time.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Most people in the US don't have enough information about Qatar or the Foundation to even hazard a guess as to what his family's motivations might be or what it will mean for him. That includes me.

Qatar Foundation

Basically, they are pouring oil money into education because they recognize that the oil money will run out some day. They have founded Education City where they have campuses of major western universities (including ours). Especially important, it is a way for women to get world-class educations when many families are reluctant to send their daughters to the US.

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