By: The Editors of Muslim-Science.Com
The Muslim World Science Initiative (and Muslim-Science.Com) stands with Ahmed – the Texas teen who was arrested last week for #DaringtoDream. While he was penalised for being a Muslim in the land of opportunity (for everyone else), this single incident unfortunately sets back our efforts to inspire young people from around the Muslim World to take up #STEM as careers and encourage them to become #DreamersANDDoers.
The Muslim World suffers from a terrible apathy towards #science and #ScienceEducation. For instance, it suffers from lack of investment (most countries spend less than 0.5% of their GDP on R&D, compared with over 1% in most of the developed world). It has produced only two #NobelLaureates in the sciences, unfortunately both products of the West. Students from the Muslim World score well below average in standardised maths and science tests – such as TIMMS and PISA – and their performance has declined over the years. Many families migrate to the land of opportunities for the sake of a better future for their children and tens of thousands of Muslim teens make the fateful choice to leave their families and loved ones behind to study science and engineering in the United States.
This is a deplorable state of affairs and can only be rectified if we can inspire – in large numbers – our younger generation to take up STEM careers, if we can inculcate in them the passion and courage to think big and dream and the audacity to hope for a better future. While there are very few Ahmeds living in the Muslim World itself because no-one really expects them to bring a home-made clock to school, there are now barriers being erected by societies for them to flourish outside their homelands too.
The recent incident is a massive setback for Muslim youth because it sets a very scary precedent. The system failed at many levels – not just at the school, but also at the police department, in the media, and the broader society which indulges in and abets such faith-based discrimination. Only after the outcry from Muslim anti-discrimination groups on the social media did some in the public sphere (including President #Obama, #HillaryClinton, and #MarkZuckerberg) realised what a gross injustice this has been and tweeted statements of support and appreciation.
We feel this is #TooLittleTooLate and does nothing to check the the tendency of a society to set a higher threshold of tolerance for discrimination against one community and encourages selective acknowledgement and redressal of such acts.
This is not just an act of discrimination against towards one boy but the whole community and many many other boys and girls who would have been stopped in their tracks and feel betrayed by not just their own homelands where their passions and talents often go unappreciated but also in their adopted homelands in Europe and America.
Perhaps someday we can do better for them not only in America but also by redeeming their faith in their own societies in the Muslim World.
#IStandWithAhmed #DaretoDeam #MuslimANDScientist #MuslimANDInnovator