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A 14-year-old Muslim boy was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school in Irving, Texas

Image via Flickr/Domiriel
But is it a clock?
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Ahmed Mohamed is a bright ninth grader from Irving, Texas who likes making electronic gadgets like radios himself. This should make him a dream student, but when he brought his homemade clock to MacArthur High School on Sept. 14 to show his engineering teacher, he ended up  handcuffed by police, the Dallas Morning News reports.

He was wearing a NASA t-shirt.

The reason? The clock looked like a bomb to the police. While the child said several times that it was a clock, police are still investigating the case, the newspaper reports. According to Mohamed’s account, the interrogation was rather surreal:

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.
“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”
“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”

The 14-year-old was suspended from school for three days, and a note circulated (pdf) to the parents and guardians of children attending MacArthur High School making them “aware that the Irving Police Department responded to a suspicious-looking item on campus yesterday.”

Talking about what happened, Mohamed said police thought, “How could someone like this build something like this unless it’s a threat?”

As the news of what happened spread, outraged social media users created the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed to show support for Mohamed. It has already been used thousands of times, according to social media analytics tool Topsy.

The Irving police department, on the other hand, is being roundly mocked.

Mohamed has vowed never to take an invention to school again, the Dallas Morning News reports. There’s already an online movement to  show him that the US—and the world—really want (and need) his intelligent creativity:

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