Ahmed Mohamed wasn’t planning on getting arrested for taking his latest invention to school, but that’s exactly what happened.
After quickly throwing together a clock before heading off to class to show his engineering teacher during the first week of high school (his teacher called it “nice”), the fourteen-year-old found himself in handcuffs by the end of the day.
Ahmed’s crime? Being a Muslim kid with a contraption his English teacher claimed looked like a bomb.
Despite telling his teacher his clock wasn’t a bomb, she confiscated it anyway and school officials called the police.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News.
“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock,” the teen said.
But police were still skeptical. “He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”
Police spokesman James McLellan attempted to explain why the teen was arrested in the first place.
“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” he said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”
But it’s unclear what “broader explanation” Ahmed have given he told police and school officials exactly what the device was and they still refused believe him.
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
Once news broke about Ahmed’s ordeal, the story quickly spread across social media with thousands using the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. Even President Obama and Hillary Clinton spoke up for the teen, encouraging him to remain curious and inviting him to the White House.
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
Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said Ahmed was arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school (despite his repeated attempts to explain it was a clock), but won’t be charged with a crime, calling the whole thing “naive accident.” Boyd also claimed “the reaction would have been the same” if Ahmed was of a different race.
Somehow, we don’t believe him.
Photo cred: Dallas Morning News