Is Ahmed ‘Clock Boy’ Mohamed’s Genius Clock Just A Massive Hoax? (VIDEO)

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year old boy who was forced to leave his school after being arrested for building a clock that his teacher thought was a bomb, is under fire again. This time, it’s because some people believe his clock is actually a rip-off of a commercial alarm clock sold in the 1980s. A man named Thomas Talbot posted a video dissecting a photo of the clock, and claims that everyone who’s donated money to Mohamed’s family has “been duped.”

Talbot starts off with a short explanation of what he’s doing and then goes into his dissection, saying, “What this is, is a commercial alarm clock,” while he uses a cursor to highlight various parts of it. Talbot says all Mohamed did was remove the casing and that this is not an invention.

Talbot’s video had been viewed nearly one million times at the time of this posting and a lot of people have picked it up and run with it. Fox News is (of course) one of them and is also casting doubt on the authenticity of Mohamed’s clock. Their piece, which is titled, “Bad timing? Experts skeptical of ‘cool clock’ that led to Texas boy’s arrest,” mentions a tweet from Richard Dawkins that read:

“Assembling clock from bought components is fine. Taking clock out of its case to make it look as if he built it is not fine. Which is true?”

That’s a good point. What is true? We don’t know and some of the commenters on Talbot’s video are pointing this out. At least some people aren’t taking an analysis of a photo as gospel truth.

However, others are weighing in on this as well, including the website Disclose.tv. They’ve got an article up that reads as though we do know Mohamed’s clock is a hoax, saying things like:

“It was a Hoax.

Ahmed Mohamed’s claims that he assembled a clock at home that he took to school is starting to unravel.

Two investigators who have studied the image of Mohamed’s device provided by Irving, Texas police have concluded that Mohamed did not make the clock. Both conclude that Mohamed disassembled a manufactured clock and installed it in a large pencil box without its casing. And both say it is possible it was done to provoke suspicion or to resemble a bomb.”

They go on to cite one person who wrote a post on Art Voice, who pointed out “flaws” like the printed circuit board, which appears to come from the mid- to late-70s. He believes that even hobbyists will be able to get their hands on something that was at least partly computer-simulated these days. He acts as though the quality (or lack thereof) of the board is strong evidence that Mohamed’s clock is fake.

The Art Voice writer, known only as Anthony, also says that there’s silk screening on the board, which he thinks is a dead giveaway that Mohamed didn’t build this at home. A hobbyist, Anthony says, wouldn’t silk screen a part number or a logo onto their part. He says it’s pretty safe to say that this is a factory part that was mass-produced in the ’70s.

There are some major assumptions in Anthony’s post, not the least of which is the idea that Mohamed had access to higher quality parts. Perhaps he used that circuit board because it was all he could get his hands on. Same thing with other parts. The point of saying that is not to clear Mohamed, but rather to say that we just don’t know at this point.

The other expert that Disclose.tv cites is Talbot. Both Anthony and Talbot do speculate as to whether this was intended to be a massive bomb prank. Talbot posted a comment on his own video alluding to that, saying that we know Mohamed’s father is “a well known political stuntman” who uses his transportation company to mock 9/11 by calling it “Twin Towers Transportation.” He says “it may very well be that this entire incident was engineered.”

That sounds a lot like the Islamophobic fear-mongering we keep hearing from conservatives. It takes away some of Talbot’s credibility. So does this article from the North Dallas Gazette.

Judge Andrew Napolitano reacted to this new “twist” on The Kelly File last night. He believes this looks more like a “purposeful hoax” now, too and said:

“If this was part of a purposeful stunt and if the parents were involved in this and if everybody from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama fell for this, this is not good.”

No, it’s not good, but it’s important to remember that we don’t know for sure and it looks like the people who are trying to debunk Mohamed’s clock are right-wing Islamophobes. We’ve got some analyses of a photo of the clock, not an analysis of the clock itself. It might be true that Mohamed perpetrated a great hoax, even if it wasn’t a bomb hoax. It’s looking more likely, right now, that this is a witch hunt against an Arab family that’s making law enforcement and a school look bad.

You can watch Talbot’s video below:

Featured image via screen capture from embedded video