Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, father of famed ‘Clock Boy’ Ahmed, foisted himself back into the limelight less than 24-hours after the family’s return to Texas. In a live Facebook video interview Tuesday, the Mohamed family patriarch mused on topics like “new immigrants make America great,” Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, the clock incident, and even, what he misses most about the United States while living in Qatar.
He sat in a regal red velvet cushioned chair wearing white flowing clerics robes when he spoke to the Dallas Morning News, which gave him 20 minutes of live social media time.
Mohamed called America “good” and said it was “built on the new immigrant.” The “new immigrants make America great,” he commented, although he never defined which new immigrants entering the U.S. were elevating the nation. Instead, he segued to a few words about the Koran, explaining that in 2011 he was the “defense attorney” against a Florida Pastor who burned a Koran at his tiny church.
The Mohamed family patriarch actually debated Pastor Terry Jones in a televised mock-trial. He said he went to share the message the Koran teaches that Muslims should engage in peaceful dialogue with Christians. A few days later in Afghanistan an anti-American mob burned down part of the United Nations compound and murdered 12 people, Breitbart News reported.
The Sudanese-born man told the Dallas newspaper, he tried to explain to Jones he was wrong about Islam. Mohamed said there is a new understanding of the Koran: “We are in the New World, the New Testament of the Koran, not the Old Testament of the Koran.”
Last September, though, Mohamed posted a contentious photo of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers enveloped in smoke during the 2001 terrorist attacks on his Sudanese National Reform party page that sourced to a Sudanese military group that asserted a truther philosophy. They called 9/11 an inside job, depicting these “so-called” events a “rumor.” Weeks later, Mohamed shared another 9/11 “truther” Facebook post in Arabic. He pondered the clock incident would lead to spreading Islam in America.
Mohamed also claimed Islamophobia was behind his son’s clock woes. In 2015, he said it happened “because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11.”
During Tuesday’s interview, Mohamed congratulated American women for having their first female U.S. presidential candidate, alluding to the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “That is wonderful for the American history.”
He spoke more understatedly when mentioning the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Mohamed said he wished “candidate Trump to come see the people are very nice and very good” in Qatar.
Mohamed gushed about his son: “He loves America.” Reportedly, the teen plans to visit NASA, MIT, and Facebook. The family said Ahmed has a summer Twitter internship but Mohamed did not elaborate.
“When this happened to Ahmed, he was just taking a clock to show to his teacher…to be recognized and then, he end up in the big test,” said Mohamed. He called what happened to Ahmed “unbelievable.”
What may be most unbelievable is the whole clock incident could have been avoided. When Ahmed brought the contraption into school, his engineering teacher advised him to put it away. He did not listen. Instead, Ahmed took the “clock” to English class where he plugged it in. It started to beep and scared the teacher. “She was like, it looks like a bomb,” Ahmed told news media last September.
Mohamed offered no solutions how his son might have handled himself differently. The high school freshman was handcuffed and detained for bringing the homemade weekend clock project to school that staff and law enforcement intially believed was a “hoax bomb.” No charges were filed once the situation sorted itself out. Ahmed got three days of suspension.
A subsequent media firestorm erupted with mainstream news outlets crying “Islamophobia.” Breitbart Texas maintained his arrest was the result of rigid public school zero tolerance policies and a month later, the Associated Press agreed.
Mohamed said in going forward that Ahmed is “going to be careful. You know, now he get a lesson.”
The patriarch philosophically dubbed the incident a “big test.” He said: “God changed everything to tell him that the road is open for you, so show us your invention. Show us because we know what you are going through.”
Mohamed believed most people supported Ahmed. He said: “If you want to see God’s opinion, look to the majority of the people.”
In the interview, he called the Qatar Foundation, which hosts the family’s stay in the Islamic country, “very generous and very good to us.” He said: “Qatar is just like America,” he said when it comes to “all the culture” he said he found. He noted his younger daughter will attend Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar campus and his older daughter will likely go to Qatar University.
He was very excited about Ahmed’s education. “He learn Arabic back home in Qatar,” he said, “and he learn Islam.” Last year, Ahmed blew off the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in favor of Qatar’s Education City. Now, Mohamed insists Ahmed’s top collegiate choice is MIT.
Mohamed pandered to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, waving to him over the live feed. Ahmed hopes to meet Zuckerberg this summer. The family plans to travel to California, New York, Florida, and the District of Columbia during their supposedly three month visit.
He commented that what he missed most about the United States and Texas was family — his mother, brother and nephews in Irving, as well as “friends we left, some mosques.” Mohamed indicated he missed his company, which he described as a driving service, and its employees and clients.
However, it may be what Mohamed misses most is freedom — of speech and of the press. “This media. It’s free,” he stated repeatedly in numerous ways including “free interview” and “free communication,” among them.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.