Originally Posted by Ataturk
It's relevant in a number of ways. He says he built the clock and was proud of it so he brought it to school to show to his teachers. If that's not true, for one thing, it calls his credibility about everything else into question for saying things that aren't true. And it impacts the plausibility of the story, too: if all he did was cut an alarm clock up and put it into a case, what was he showing off? If there was no real accomplishment in putting it in the case, that (along with its resemblance to a bomb) suggests an ulterior motive.
Assigning adult sensibilities to a 14 year old is going to lead to you to make irrational conclusions. Taking something apart, chopping it up, and getting it to work again in a new box is the kind of thing that a 14 year old could easily be irrationally proud of.
He's got a whole collection of little electronics projects like this. Why would anyone assume this one has some kind of ulterior motive? There are pretty clear motives without needing something sinister, it's just a geeky kid doing geek stuff. Maybe more evidence comes to light that changes that narrative, but it seems a pretty reasonable default.
I note, also, that you yourself acknowledged that millions of people (including the president of the united states and the entire mainstream media) were fawning over the kid as if he was some kind of genius when that's pretty clearly not the case. That tends to get people riled up and is a much more plausible explanation than jealousy over some 14-year-old getting undeserved attention.
That's pretty much viral media culture. There's some new "genius" getting touted every week. I don't really know why people would bother getting riled up about it. Viral attention isn't earned or fair, it just boils out and rewards someone who captured public attention at that second and then goes away. I rolled my eyes at people calling Ahmed a genius, but that seems like a proportionate response and not anything bigger.
The President's comment was basically praising Ahmed for being interested in science. He didn't call him a genius, just said that more kids should be encouraged to pursue science. I think that's unambiguously a good message. Kids of all talent levels should be encouraged to try to think creatively, build things (even stupid things), and be proud of what they accomplish (even if it's not that objectively impressive).
That's a hell of a lot more positive and productive for society than a bunch of adults bashing him for not really inventing a clock. Even actually building an electronic clock wouldn't be all that impressive, but who gives a shit?