A Muslim high school student, Ahmed Mohamed, was detained in Texas on Monday after he attempted to show a clock he made, which was mistaken for a bomb, to his engineering teacher in MacArthur High School.
The 14-year-old ninth grader told US media that while he was showing the clock to his engineering teacher, another teacher saw the clock and reported it to the school’s principal who called the police.
When speaking in a video interview from his electronics workshop at his home, Mohamed said that police questioned him and asked why he was making a bomb.
Police spokesman James McLellan said the student couldn’t give a “broader explanation” as to why he was making a clock and what it might be used for.
Speaking to local station Dallas News Mohamed stated that his hobby is inventing and the clock was his latest invention.
He said that he told police officers repeatedly that he had only ever tried to make a clock. But they didn’t believe him and one of them said it looked like suitcase “movie bomb” after which he was arrested for allegedly making a “hoax bomb.”
— I H Laking (@IHLaking) September 16, 2015
Mohamed has been suspended from school for three days. Principal Daniel Cumming reportedly told Mohamed to give written statement, otherwise he would be expelled.
Following his arrest his belongings were searched in a detention center and his fingerprints and mugshot were taken before his family arrived to take him home.
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed - who is originally from Sudan - commented on the incident by saying that his son was mistreated because his name is Mohamed, a Muslim name. He said his son "just wants to invent good things for mankind.”
The head of the local branch of The Council on American-Islamic Relations Alia Salem backed Ahmed's father's suspicions. "I think this wouldn't even be a question if his name wasn't Ahmed Mohamed," she said.
The incident has been seen as an issue of anti-Islamic discrimination and drew criticism on social media.
I was Ahmed. Except I’m white, and that makes all the difference. http://t.co/LOTERJXC2J
— Andy Ihnatko (@Ihnatko) September 16, 2015