14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was the subject of Islamophobia when his school project was believed to be bomb, but President Obama, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, and more voice their support.
Ahmed Mohamed was excited to impress his teachers and classmates by submitting a unique clock he built by himself as a school project. But instead of winning the top prize, the 14-year-old Muslim student of Irving MacArthur High School in Texas ended up being arrested, handcuffed, and sent to the juvenile detention center.
Ahmed is fond of inventing, repairing and working on electronic and other mechanical stuff. And for his school project, he manually built a digital clock that is housed in a metal pencil case. But upon showing it to his English teacher, the teacher obviously presumed it as an explosive device or bomb prompting her to call the police.
Upon his arrest, Ahmed continuously pleaded and explained to the police officers that his device was a mere clock. In an interview, the student remembered his ordeal while being interrogated “They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb? I told them no, I was trying to make a clock. [The cop] said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.”
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
In a statement, police spokesperson Mr. McLellan admitted that the department had no reason to believe that the student’s invention is dangerous. But he still insisted that investigations on the student will continue. The police’s statement also provided hints that they are still suspicious of Admed’s character and intentions.
McLellan explained that “We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb. He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation. It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”
The police department has also confirmed that they are still in the process of deciding whether they will file a case against the student or not. A possible case would be the creation of a hoax bomb. The police also didn’t reveal the results of their initial investigation on the Muslim student’s background.
Hey Ahmed, give me a call in a couple years. We could always use smart, curious & creative people. https://t.co/02a4feMrk5
— Bobak Ferdowsi (@tweetsoutloud) September 16, 2015
Ahmed gets to go to Space Camp! https://t.co/mvOTN7AoN5
— Meghan Bee (@EldritchGirl) September 16, 2015
Aside from his unpleasant experience with the police, the student also suffered a 3-day suspension from the school amidst the principal admitting that he did nothing wrong.
The story of Ahmed Mohamed and his wrongful arrest sparked national outrage against the authorities. Several campaigns including those in the social media have also been organized to support the student. He has also received several invitations from various organizations like Google, Facebook, NASA including the White House.
Certainly, this is just another case of discrimination. The innocent school project was immediately associated to Ahmed’s background being a Muslim.
— PK♪ (@RYAAN_KHAN_) September 17, 2015
— Gagan Singh (@urbanturbanguy) September 17, 2015