A Muslim ninth-grader in Texas has been suspended after bringing a homemade clock to school that administrators believed was a bomb, according to a report.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, brought the clock to MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. School administrators called the police, who handcuffed Mohamed. He was punished with a three-day suspension, according to The Dallas Morning News.
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
The report said that Mohamed, an intrepid tinkerer, also makes his own radios and repairs go-karts.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” said the boy’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, a Sudanese immigrant.
“But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated,” he added, citing the 14th anniversary last weekend of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The school district’s suspension of the teenager is now inspiring widespread outrage on social media with the hashtag #IStandwithAhmed.
Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1— Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2015
Multiple Twitter users criticized the Irving Police Department’s investigation of Ahmed Mohamed.
As a scientist, #IStandWithAhmed because the handcuffs are the system telling him he shouldn't be an engineer. We must tell him the opposite— Seth Zenz (@sethzenz) September 16, 2015
Comic Felonious Monk, meanwhile, changed his Twitter handle to #IStandwithAhmed in a show of solidarity with the Texas teenager.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Tuesday that Ahmed Mohamed’s English teacher reported him to school administrators after his clock’s alarm erupted in class.
The newspaper added that he was then escorted to the principal’s office, where five police officers questioned him about the device.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed Mohamed reportedly said. “I told them ‘No, I was trying to make a clock.’ [One officer] said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”
Irving police spokesman James McLellan said that concerns over Ahmed Mohamed’s device are justified given it is unclear what the device is at first glance, according to the newspaper.
“We have no information that he claimed it was bomb,” he added. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”
“It could reasonably be mistaken for a device if left in a bathroom or under a car,” McLellan reportedly said. “The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”
Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday that no charges would be filed against Ahmed Mohamed.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reportedly investigating the incident for anti-Muslim bigotry.
President Obama on Wednesday invited the high school freshman 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
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign also encouraged him to “stay curious.”
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
--This report was updated at 1:13 p.m.