Richard Dawkins has sparked outrage after comparing Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teenager whose homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb, to an child forced by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria to behead his victim.
Mohamed was arrested in September after bringing in a homemade clock to school that was mistaken for a bomb. He has since been honored by Google and visited the White House on U.S. President Barack Obama’s invitation.
Dawkins took to Twitter on Tuesday, in reaction to the news that Mohamed’s family was demanding $15 million in damages and an apology from Irving, Texas, officials over the way the 14-year-old was treated.
Calling Mohamed “Hoax Boy,” Dawkins, a scientist and leading atheist, tweeted that the teenager had “hoaxed his way into the White House.”
This is not the first time the evolutionary biologist has been vocal in his belief that teenager’s clock had been a “hoax.” In September, he took umbrage at the use of the word “invention” to describe Mohamed’s work. On Tuesday, he further questioned the teen’s motives of taking a clock out of its case and putting “it in a box.”
His tweet was met with a swift response, with users chiding Dawkins for “picking on a kid.” This led to the scientist linking an International Business Times article about a child being forced by ISIS militants to decapitate a Syrian regime army officer. He wrote: “And how old is this “kid”?”
The tweet caused a wave of criticism on the social media site where users charged him of “sloppy thinking” and Islamophobia.