“Clock Boy” Ahmed’s high school participated in the wildly popular City of Irving annual Christmas holiday celebration on Saturday. MacArthur High again debunked the mainstream media’s negative portrayal of the campus and the Irving community as hotbeds of hatred and bigotry.
In fact, the world looked normal for just a few hours when on the beautiful North Texas day when Irving residents came out with plenty of Christmas spirit. Breitbart Texas witnessed an inclusive, diverse, unified community in a late afternoon afternoon parade, Mayor Beth Van Duyne lighting the city’s Christmas tree, and evening fireworks.
“We want everybody to know our school is a wonderful school,” said MacArthur High School Dean of Students LaShara Webster, who could not address certain issues given the Mohamed’s legal threats of a $5 million lawsuit against the Irving Independent School District and a U.S. Department of Justice probe into the details surrounding the teen’s Sept. 14 arrest when he brought an unassigned homemade clock project that resembled and was mistaken for a suitcase bomb. Once the situation sorted itself out, no charges were filed.
MacArthur was one of countless entries in a parade route that brimmed with kids and floats, spanning several miles. Boy Scout troupes, soccer and cheer teams, area churches, other Dallas-Fort Worth public and private schools, Miss Texas Latina, a string of Ms. Mature Irvings, a few vintage Volkswagon Beetles, drummers, majorettes, high school bands and even Dallas’ girl dance company Xplosive participated. Paraders showered a sea of spectators with candy. At press time, Breitbart Texas did not have an official headcount. It looked like several thousand attended.
One MacArthur parent, who only identified herself as Christie, told Breitbart Texas that she is a 1984 graduate of the high school with one child still attending the very same campus. “I refuse to let it define us who we are because of one family,” she said alluding to the Mohamed family. “MacArthur is a great school,” she said, echoing sentiments of harmony expressed by the high school’s 2015 Muslim valedictorian Amena Jamali. Breitbart Texas discovered Jamali’s support letter to MacArthur principal Dan Cummings, which debunked accusations of Islamophobia in the school.
The DOJ probe is the result of a Sept. 22 letter initiated by uber-liberal Northern California Congressman Mike Honda, himself, the subject of an ethics investigation. Only two of the 28 congressional signatures on the letter hailed from Texas — Democratic representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Mark Veasey. Breitbart Texas reported last month that Honda staged a press conference to nudge along the investigation.
Irving ISD spokeswoman Lesley Weaver confirmed receipt of the DOJ inquiry to Breitbart Texas on October 22. Ahmed and his family threatened to sue for a combined total $15 million, which also includes $10 million from the Irving Police Department.
At the event, Irving police spokesman Officer James McLellan told Breitbart Texas about community support for the force. He said that the men and women in blue generally get a lot of support, including private “shows of support” something “which we certainly appreciate, especially these days” where officers, not only in Irving but nationwide, are under so much scrutiny so much of the time. McLellan emphasized that the well-patrolled event was staffed, not only in response to any potential threats but, as an annual event, to ensure the safety of the attendees and participants.
Concerns of and counter-protests faded away once Muslim support group “We are America” ditched their counter-protest at the city’s Christmas celebration once tea party groups decided to come out to support the event. The Islamic ralliers rescheduled their demonstration for Dec. 12 at the Irving mosque.
Before the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Breitbart Texas spoke to Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, the recipient of online hate threats and the target of liberal news media and leftwing activist groups that fanned the flames of Islamophobia since mid-September. She said she stopped by an earlier support rally held outside of City Hall hours before the extravaganza.
The mayor described Irving as one of the top 100 largest cities and the fifth safest city to live in America adding that “people who love the city, grow up in the community and are strong active members” in the fabric of Irving. She added that the people and the city are not “what you see in the headlines.” Irving has a very diverse population and noted it is “positive, it is absolutely positive.”
Van Duyne, the parade’s grand marshal was later introduced on stage to a packed crowd for her “integrity and strength” before the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. She noted “the challenging times” the nation and Irving live in and pointed out that the holiday season is an opportunity to come together,” encouraging everyone to reach out to those in need.”
Around 2 p.m., a small gathering of the Texas chapter of Overpasses for America, the Sons of Liberty Riders DFW chapter and other patriotic groups took place along Irving Boulevard. Folks waved American and Israeli flags, and homemade signs. One read: “I support Beth Van Duyne, Irving PD, Irving ISD.” Passing drivers and truckers honked in support.
Sons of Liberty Riders’ Mel Robins told Breitbart Texas he came specifically to support Irving’s mayor, Beth Van Duyne, who was thrust into the national spotlight for supporting the city’s school district and police in their procedural handling of Ahmed Mohamed. Robins called Van Duyne “one stand up great mayor” who “tells it like it is and embodies everything we stand for.”
A few of the other bikers, also U.S. military veterans, told Breitbart Texas they plan to stand against terrorism in a solidarity ride to the state capitol next Sunday.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter at @OutOfTheBoxMom.