IRVING, Texas — When Ahmed Mohamed went to his high school in Irving, Texas, Monday, he was so excited. A teenager with dreams of becoming an engineer, he wanted to show his teacher the digital clock he’d made from a pencil case.
The 14-year-old’s day ended not with praise, but punishment, after the school called police and he was arrested. A photo shows Ahmed, wearing a NASA T-shirt, looking confused and upset as he’s being led out of school in handcuffs.
“They arrested me and they told me that I committed the crime of a hoax bomb, a fake bomb,” the freshman later explained to WFAA after authorities released him.
Irving Police spokesman Officer James McLellan told the station, “We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only tell us that it was a clock.”
The teenager did that because, well, it was a clock, he said.
Outrage over the incident — with many saying the student was profiled because he’s Muslim — spread on social media as #IStandWithAhmed started trending worldwide on Twitter with more than 100,000 tweets Tuesday morning. The school’s Facebook page is roiling with sharp criticism of the way the teen was treated, and the hashtag #engineersforahmed is gaining popularity.
President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the 14-year-old Muslim teenager arrested by police after taking a homemade clock to school.
As reports said police from Irving, Texas, had decided they would not charge Ahmed Mohamed with making a hoax bomb – as his family had been told they might –
Mr Obama on twitter invited the teenager to take his clock to the White House.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also voiced his support for the schoolboy. Engineers from Google, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and NASA also offered their support and a tour of their facilities.
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote on his own page.
“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.”
Many criticized the school on Facebook.
Kevin McKinney posted, “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.”
Mocking Irving Schools’ motto, Bill Cain wrote: “‘Where children come first’…to jail in handcuffs. Way to go, Irving.”
Chance Williams posted, “Ahmed Mohamed deserves a public apology from you, the school administrators, police, and teachers involved in his arrest. I hope he sues, and the school district has to pay for his college education.”
News Outlets have reached out to the police department for a response but has not yet heard back.