Fourteen-year-old MacArthur High School freshman Ahmed Mohamed was arrested by the Irving police after his school teacher suspected a clock that he built from scratch to be a bomb.
His school district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver said officials were concerned with student safety and not the boy’s Muslim faith. His teacher, apparently, found the homemade clock similar in appearance to a bomb and therefore alerted the police. However, Ahmed has found immense support from across the world. Pictures of him sporting a NASA t-shirt and in handcuffs have gone viral. While social media was abuzz condemning the arrest, the 14-year-old found fans in his President, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter, which has offered him an internship.
President Obama tweeted about the incident, saying kids should be inspired to grow a liking for science. He invited Ahmed to the White House.
Ahmed was invited to participate in an astronomy night the White House is organising next month with leading scientists.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the episode involving Ahmed Mohamed a “teachable moment,” adding the invitation was offered as a way for Ahmed to “nurture that intellectual curiosity.”
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
On his Facebook page, Mark Zukerberg said the future belonged to people like Ahmed who should be applauded for their efforts.
“You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he took it to school.
Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.
Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”
Ahmed, who now has a verified Twitter handle @IStandWithAhmed, has an internship offer from Twitter and an invitation from MIT. He is also likely to get a full scholarship at MIT.
— Twitter (@twitter) September 16, 2015
— NASA (@NASA) September 16, 2015
— Chanda (???) (@IBJIYONGI) September 16, 2015
— Google Science Fair (@googlescifair) September 16, 2015
Ahmed told reporters on Wednesday that he remains suspended from school until Thursday. He told reporters during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon that he plans to transfer to “any other school.”
“So I guess everyone knows I’m the person who built a clock and got in a lot of trouble for it,” Ahmed said, addressing the crowd of reporters outside of his home.
“I built a clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her. So it was really sad that she took a wrong impression of it, and I got arrested for it later that day,” he was quoted as saying.
Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd, whose team arrested the boy and put him in handcuffs, says he won’t press charges, but that the clock that Ahmed built looked “suspicious in nature.”
With agency inputs