Ahmad Mohamed is American, but, Ahmad Mohamed is equally Muslim. Likewise, he also happens to be a son, a blossoming inventor, a resident of Texas, Sudanese by descent, 14 years old and male; his identity then - as all identities - is multiplicitous and even, I daresay, fluid.

Yet the identity that authorities in Irvine choose to prescribe to Ahmad was same which Rudyard Kipling choose not long ago: “half-devil and half-child.”

Post September 11th the term Muslim has come to be a synonym for backward, hyper-patriarchal intolerant, parochial, close-minded attitudes. But placing a Muslim, indeed any individual, into an aggregate by default, that is to say profiling or judging them based on ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality or religious beliefs, and, then detaining them in said category by blocking all means of access and escape is a terribly erroneous public policy. Not to mention a policy that breaks the fundamental principles of logical reasoning, and, of the ‘scientific method’ that the West has been obsessed with since the early Renaissance. It commits the inductive fallacy of Secundum Quid: the policy - Muslims must be especially scrutinised - is an illicit generalisation that fails to recognise the difference between ‘rules of thumb’ (soft generalisations, heuristics that hold true as a general rule but leave room for exceptions) and ‘categorical propositions’ (rules that hold true universally). Additionally, by relating terrorism with Muslim-ness, it fails to distinguish between correlation and causation. Deductively, correlation is not causation! Thus, I cannot argue the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Christian militia accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery, and forcing children to participate in hostilities to represent Christians everywhere, or, to be caused by Christian-ness. Just as I cannot argue Daesh, a Salafi, jihadist, extremist, militant group and self-proclaimed Islamic state, guilty of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, child-sex slavery, genocide and rape to be representative of Muslims everywhere, or to be caused by Muslim-ness. Yes, correlation can go onto prove causation, but, even that undertaking falsifies the conclusion of considering the Muslim a subhuman terrorist, a free-radical to be analysed and controlled in an otherwise healthy society: 1.6 billion people in the world profess to be Muslim, nearly a quarter of humanity, from varying backgrounds, professions, cultures, continents, and traditions. And not all of them are myopic, extremist, sleeper agents waiting for some sort of jihadist bat-signal in order to strike. They are people, not better or worse, perhaps different in hopes and dreams, in skin and colour. But similar and equal in the shared, common dignity of humankind, deserving of the same rights: just people. To reduce Muslim-ness to a fanatically religious stereotype would only serve to empower the extremists and their version of Muslim realty.

Recently, government bigwigs and public intellectuals have jumped on the Muslim-hate bandwagon: the debilitating evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins questioned whether Ahmad had truly “invented” the clock. Whereas, US Republican candidate Ben Carson won over 100,000 more followers in twenty-four hours, on a social networking site, when, in a recent interview, he said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation”. It not only points to the problem that a candidate for the position of the President of United States of America isn’t aware of Article 6 of their own country’s constitution, but it is also suggestive of the ‘brute fact’ that in this epoch, the Muslim has become the new Jew; the poster child for the term ‘outsider’. There seems to be a yearning to erase all aspects of the Muslim identity except that which conforms to narrow mindedness, and, thus to rob them of the positive characteristic of freedom: the chance to define and develop one’s own, autonomously chosen identity.

This pursuance is a futile endeavour. For what will this censure mean? What will it yield except gross loss for all of us, for our common, intertwined and inseparable histories? Will it mean that Mūsā al-Khwārizmī will stop being latinised as Algoritmi? Will we lose the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations? Will you not adopt the Arabic numeral and decimal system? Will we do math in Roman numerals? Will our mathematicians now multiply XVII (17) with XXXXII (42) and find the task infinitely harder? Will Gibraltar cease to be Jabal Tāriq? Would Tariq ibn Ziyad lose his mountain? Or, will Ibn al-Haytham be told to stop being a Muslim polymath? Will your neoliberal economists stop using Muhammad ibn Khaldūn to argue that high tax rates shrink the tax base, or, for the effect of taxation on incentives and productivity? Will we not use the Laffer’s Curve to help calculate optimal-tax? Or, will you tell Ahmad Ibn Rušd of Córdoba, Al Andalus (present-day Spain) not to recover philosophy, after the fall of the Western part of the Empire of Justinian, and, translate it into Arabic? Will you deny us Plato and Aristotle, and, yourself the renaissance of thought? More importantly, which one of us will ask Raphael to redo his masterpiece of a fresco “The School of Athens” and remove Averroës from it? And who will ask Oscar Wilde not be influenced by Omar Khayyam? And how will be disconnect and extract the Poet from the Muslim in Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, and, in Farīd ud-Dīn Attār, the perfumer?

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants…” wrote Isaac Newton in a letter to his friend Robert Hooke. Some of these giants on whose shoulders civilisation stands on are, indeed, Muslim. As others are Hindus, homosexuals, or from the San of Namibia. Our achievements are patchworks of our varied, myriad identities. This simple, perhaps, reductive claim, is one the Grand Old Party in America - shockingly, the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt - can only understand if it chooses to reign in its hysteria and paranoia.

There is much written about eschatological events and judgment days in all our Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - this is perhaps why we judge so fervently and continuously. Ergo, I will eschew blowing that oft-blown trumpet. In its stead, I offer hope, for Muslims in America and for those in the West in general, hope of a non-judgment day. Where the identity ‘Muslim’ stops being a burden and a misfortune. Where Muslim is no longer believed to be, as Urban Dictionary puts it, “A form of lemming prone to spontaneous combustion.”

To do so Muslims have to take the responsibility to reconnect with our past, with the tradition of philosophy, reason, logic and invention. We have to shed our coat of absolutes and rigidity. While the West needs to forgo its condescending, obsessive and neurotic attitude, if we keep lambasting each other’s historical and current identities there will be nothing left but a history of tears.