Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school freshman from Texas, was arrested for building a homemade digital clock and bringing it to school to show his teacher. His hope was to impress his teachers, not cause trouble.
The clock was created from a circuit board and a power supply connected to a digital display. Mohamed showed the creation to his engineering teacher, but was advised not to show it to any other teachers or staff at the school. Mohamed kept it in his bookbag until another teacher heard it beep in class, he showed it to the teacher who heard it. The teacher confiscated the clock, left for a time, and came back with the principle and a police officer.
Mohamed pleaded that he did nothing wrong and kept insisting that it was only a clock and that he builds electronics in his spare time. However, he was threatened with expulsion and arrest unless he signed a written statement, which was a confession. When police and school administrators finally realized that it was only a clock, Mohamed was still arrested and may be charged with making a “hoax bomb.”
The teen’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, says his son was the victim of racial prejudice because his son is Muslim. “Because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11th, I think my son got mistreated,” said Mohamed.
Here’s a tweeted photo of Mohamed being handcuffed, while wearing a NASA t-shirt.
I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed’s sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” said police spokesperson James McLellan. “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 Council on American-Islamic Relations is pursuing claims of Islamophobia in Irving, Texas. The family is upset at the situation, but they have received a national outpouring of support on social media, including by President Obama who tweeted the following:
@POTUS please invite this kid to the White House!
— aasif mandvi (@aasif) September 16, 2015
Watch the Dallas News report:
For more information, read this story at the Dallas Morning News.