Update, September 16, 2:15 p.m.: President Obama weighed in on the controversy, lending his support to Ahmed Mohamed by inviting him to visit the White House.
The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed was the No. 1 trending Twitter item in the United States on Wednesday morning, after a 14-year-old student at Irving MacArthur High School in Texas was arrested on Monday for bringing a homemade clock to school. School officials said they suspected that Ahmed Mohamed’s clock was a bomb.
This is despite the fact that the ninth grader repeatedly told both teachers and the police that his project was not, in fact, a weapon. That didn’t stop the police from arresting him anyway. The Dallas Morning News reports that the police were even contemplating charging Mohamed with bringing a hoax bomb to school.
I hope the racism of adults does not ruin his enthusiasm for science and education. We need to encourage thinkers like him #IStandWithAhmed
— Meg (@meglesleyx) September 16, 2015
Not a big hashtag guy, but I appreciate the best of #IStandWithAhmed http://t.co/wifMAKnqT3 Heartbreaking story. pic.twitter.com/kJS6lOg2su
— Slade Sohmer (@Slade) September 16, 2015
Mohamed, who has long had a strong interest in science and robotics, was led out of school in handcuffs and suspended for three days.
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
“An officer and the principal came in and took me up, and they took me to a room filled with five officers,” Mohamed explains in the video below, posted by the Dallas Morning News. “They interrogated me and searched through my stuff and took my tablet and my invention.”
“Later that day, I was taken to a juvenile detention center, where they searched me, they took fingerprints and mug shots of me, and they searched me until my parents came and I got to leave the building,” he added.
Police spokesperson James McLellan said that although the student repeatedly maintained to officials that the clock was just a clock, not a bomb, “there was no broader explanation” for it.
But as his father tells the Dallas Morning News, Mohamed “just wants to invent good things for mankind, but because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
The newspaper reports, “He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.” Hours after #IStandWithAhmed started trending on Wednesday, Mohamed appeared to weigh in on social media to express gratitude for the outpouring of support.
Thank you for your support! I really didn’t think people would care about a muslim boy. #Thankyouforstandingwithme #IStandWithAhmed
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) September 16, 2015