Ahmed Mohamed meets Obama

Teenager Ahmed Mohamed, arrested after bringing clock mistaken for bomb into school, meets with US President Barack Obama in the White House

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Irving, Texas student Ahmed Mohamed (C) is seen during the second White House Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House on October 19, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who was arrested after he brought a clock into school which his teachers mistook for a bomb, met United States President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday night.

Ahmed spoke with Obama during astronomy night –an annual event honouring science, space exploration and youthful endeavour– in the White House.

“We have to watch for and cultivate and encourage those glimmers of curiosity and possibility, not suppress them, not squelch them,” Obama told an audience, which included astronauts, scientists and students on the South Lawn, which is located directly south of the mansion, and is bordered on the east by East Executive Drive and the Treasury Building.

“Not only are the young people’s futures at stake, but our own is at stake,” Obama added.

Ahmed took a selfie with John Grunsfeld, a former astronaut and Nasa’s associate administrator for the science mission directorate.

John M. Grunsfeld (L), Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, poses for a selfie with Ahmed Mohamed / Photo by Reuters

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans have criticised Obama's decision to invite Ahmed to the Whitehouse.

“President Obama, at every stage, tries to politicize what happens, whether it is this teenager here in Texas, whether it is the shootings we saw in the Pacific Northwest,” Cruz said on Monday.

“Over and over again, sadly, he seeks to try to divide us, to try to tear us apart. The president really ought to be looking for ways to bring us together, to unify us,” he added.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest rejected the criticism.

Ahmed has also met with, Mark Zuckerberg, who is the one of five co-founders of the social networking website Facebook, after Zuckerberg contacted him with his personal Facebook account.

“You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he took it to school.

Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.

Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I'd love to meet you. Keep building,” Zuckerberg said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also met with Ahmed while attending the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Davutoglu and his wife also took a selfie to show solidarity with Ahmed.

Speaking before his encounter with the president, Ahmed - who hopes to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and become an engineer - told reporters the lesson of his experience was: “Don’t judge a person by the way they look. Always judge them by their heart.”

TRTWorld and agencies