Ahmed Mohamed was proud of the work he had done.  His dreams of becoming an engineer were that much closer when he successfully built a digital clock from a pencil case.  He took it to his high school in Irving, Texas to show it off to his teacher.

The 14-year-old ended up in jail.

“They arrested me and they told me that I committed the crime of a hoax bomb, a fake bomb,” the freshman told WFAA.

Irving Police spokesman Officer James McLellan told the media, “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock.”  Ahmed did that because, well, it was just a clock.

Outrage over the incident has spread across social media with many saying he was profiled because he is Muslim.  The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed started trending with more than 100,000 tweets on Tuesday.  The school’s Facebook page was flooded with criticism over the way they treated their student with the hashtag #engineersforahmed gaining popularity as well.

“I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed,” said Alia Salem of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “He is an excited kid who is very bright and wants to share it with his teachers.”

One of the posts on the school’s Facebook page read, “How did a bunch of complete idiots end up accidentally running a school? Were you all yanked out of a zoo and given paychecks? Learning centers are for teaching…not for ruining innocent people’s lives with your racism and pathetic stupidity! This kid is destined to be something great if the dimwits of Irving don’t ruin him first,” said Kevin McKinney.

Officer McLellan told the Dallas Morning News that Ahmed insisted the device was not a bomb and police have no reason to doubt that.  In addition, there was “no information that he claimed it was a bomb.”  He went on to say that police still wanted a “broader explanation” from Ahmed.  “The concern was what was this thing built for?”

According to WFAA, it was an English teacher at the school who got scared and reported Ahmed to the principal.

The school’s statement read in part, “We always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior.  If something is out of the ordinary, the information should be reported immediately to a school administrator and/or the police so it can be addressed right away. We will always take necessary precautions to protect our students and keep our school community as safe as possible.”

The clock is being held at the evidence room in the Irving Police Department.  Ahmed, a member of the school’s robotics club, has won several awards for his inventions.  He recalled showing one teacher the clock and her saying that it was “nice”, but that he shouldn’t show anyone else.  The teen put the clock in his backpack, but later the alarm went off and the teacher made him show it to them.

“She was like, it looks like a bomb,” he said.  “I told her, ‘It doesn’t look like a bomb to me.'”

He was taken out of class and brought to a room with 4 police officers.  One officer said, “Yup.  That’s who I thought it was.”  Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News, he felt aware that his looks and his name were motivating some of what the officers said to him.  One officer asked him, “So you tried to make a bomb?”

He consistently disputed that the clock was a bomb and told everyone who would listen he created a clock.  Ahmed was suspended for 3 days.

“I really hope you guys are absolutely ashamed for possibly ruining the ingenuity of one bright kid who made a CLOCK for crying out loud. What kind of education does your professors have?” David Velez wrote on the school’s Facebook page.

“Shame on your school and its administration for arresting Ahmed Mohamed,” wrote Jillian York. “Way to stifle a kid’s creativity and energy. I hope you’re all replaced with compassionate, non-racist, administrators and teachers.”

Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said that the police “are confident it’s not an explosive device” intended to cause “alarm.” Rather, he said, officers determined it was “a hoax bomb”.  The police still insist that Ahmed made a “hoax bomb” and not a clock.  They said as much in their most recent press conference on the case today when they announced they wouldn’t be charging him.  So, even though Ahmed never claimed it was a bomb (a central part of a hoax), it has been determined to not be intended to cause alarm (also a central piece to a hoax), he told everyone it was simply a clock, and they have no reason to believe he was doing anything maliciously, without the “broader explanation”, he still was meaning it as a hoax?

The family said they were thankful for the invitations to visit companies like Google, the invitations to move to other cities, and the tweets of support, including from Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.   Ahmed recalled his emotions on being handcuffed and removed from school by police, “I was really mad.”  The photo of his arrest has been much re-tweeted.

“Assumptions and fear don’t keep us safe — they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building,” Clinton’s tweet read.

Sources:  CNN   |   Vox – Here’s How a Texas School Explained Arresting a 14-year-old Muslim boy for Making a Clock  |  Dallas News – Family Adjusting to Sudden Fame as Police Announced No Charges for Hoax Bomb


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