George Takei Reveals Why Ahmed Mohamed's Arrest Hit So Close To Home
Earlier today, actor and activist George Takei penned a heartfelt letter to Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Muslim student who was arrested and detained after bringing a homemade clock to his Texas high school — and what the 78-year-old had to say will move you to tears.
The lengthy letter, posted to Facebook, begins with a brief overview of the controversy surrounding Mohamed and his arrest by the Irving Police Department. Then, it takes a more personal turn.
Takei recalls his own experience dealing with racial profiling and discrimination at the hands of the American government: As a child during WWII, he and his family were forcibly evacuated from their home and sent to internment camps.
He urges Mohamed to “keep on keeping on, with dignity and fortitude,” and promises things will get better. The actor signs off his letter with a prediction that Mohamed has "great things ahead" of him, and says the teen is now forever a part of American history.
In sharing his similar past, Takei became an ally for Mohamed and for the millions of others like him, who are unfairly discriminated against on a daily basis -- and that is a truly beautiful thing.
Read the moving letter for yourself below.
You may have heard the story of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year old Dallas student who was arrested after bringing a home-made clock in to show his teacher. They believed it was a bomb, likely because Ahmed is a Muslim. Since I don't know how to reach this young man directly, I thought I'd post a letter to him here. Dear Ahmed, I’ve never met you, and it’s quite possible you’ve never heard of me, but my name is George Takei. I am many decades older than you, but your story and your experience—when you were arrested at your school simply because you brought in a clock for your teacher--struck a chord with me. You see, when I was a bit younger than you, I was also viewed by others as “the enemy” and treated as such, simply because I happened to look like the people who had attacked America. Like you, I was just a kid trying to find his place in the world. I loved my country, and I looked forward to all the opportunities and challenges ahead. But my childhood was interrupted by fear and ignorance. When the authorities came for you because they believed you had built a bomb, I was reminded, in a way, of when the army came for us. They ordered us out of our home believing we were suspicious people because of our names, our faces, our ancestry. I spent my childhood in an internment camp because of that fear and ignorance. But I want you to know, while America may have done a terrible thing to me and my family, and to 120,000 other Japanese Americans, I have great hope for this country, and I believe we do learn. There was a Japanese word we often said in the camps: Gaman. It means to keep on keeping on, with dignity and fortitude. I think you understand this word already. While certain school officials and police officers may have shown you the worst side of our nation, I understand many others have since shown you the best side. I was touched to hear you say that we all have to be true to ourselves. Ahmed, you are now part of the story of America, and many will learn from your fine example. I see great things ahead for you.