A 14 year old boy, named Ahmed Mohamed, was arrested in Texas, at MacArthur High School, Irving, after one of the teachers reported a homemade clock built by the young boy, as a bomb. Mohamed had built the clock as an engineering project, and had brought it with him to school, to show it to his engineering teacher. Ahmed said, his teacher was impressed by the clock, but asked him not to show it to anyone.
Another teacher at the school was alarmed by the beeping of the clock, and reported it to the authorities. Later during the day, the boy was pulled out of class, questioned by 4 police officers, as well as teacher, and taken to a juvenile centre.
The 14 year old said that he was quite saddened to know that his teacher thought of his innovation as a threat. “I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her. I’m very sad that she got the wrong impression of it.”
The school authorities have defended the actions of their staff member in an official statement, saying that, “[We] always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items.”
Ahmed’s parents, along with the Council of American-Islamic Relations has termed the incident as a case of Islamophobia. Alia Salem, executive director of the organisation’s North Texas wing, said that, “I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed.” She went on to add that, “He is an excited kid who is very bright and wants to share it with his teachers.”
The police have rejected the Islamophobia claims, saying that they have always had good relations with the local muslim community.
14 year old Ahmed, has however, received an outpouring of support from people over the internet, supporting him with the hashtag: #IstandwithAhmed.
— #IStandWithAhmed (@StandWithAhmed) September 16, 2015
He has also received messages of support from US president Barack Obama, senator Hilary Clinton, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg.
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
Assumptions and fear don’t keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2015
Ahmed has since been released, and has decided to change schools.