American Muslim teenager, Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested for bringing his homemade electronic clock to school said that he will accept US president Barack Obama's invitation to take his clock to the White House.
Mohamed, known as an engineering enthusiast, was arrested on Monday when he took the clock he built from scratch to school, with the intention of impressing his engineering teacher at MacArthur High School. One of his teachers reported the device to the school’s principal who called the police, claiming it looked like a "movie bomb" and transfered him to a juvenile detention centre.
Following the arrest, he was handcuffed and questioned over his intention of building such a device in police headquarters. Reportedly, he was not allowed to call his father during his detention.
The incident caused outrage and drawn strong criticism on social media when it went viral.
On Wednesday the White House invited the 14-year-old student who had been arrested over the clock that was mistaken for a bomb in Irving, Texas. Press Secretary of the White House, John Earnest, called the incident a "teachable moment" and announced that Mohamed was invited to Astronomy Night at the White House on Oct 19.
US President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter:
“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.”
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) 16 Eylül 2015
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also invited the ninth-grade student to Facebook's headquarters in California. He wrote on Facebook:
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.”
On Twitter, the hashtag #IstandWithAhmed picked up more than 500,000 mentions. As the hashtag trended, many celebrities, engineers, journalists and companies expressed their support for Mohamed.
Hi @IStandWithAhmed ! I'd love you to join us for our science show Generator in Toronto on 28 Oct. There's a ticket waiting for you.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) September 16, 2015
Hillary Clinton was among who encoureged the Muslim student after he was quickly arrested after he took his invention to school. Criticising remarks of the police and school staff defending Monday’s detention, saying that the arrest was only to keep students safe she said,
“Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building.”
Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2015
After his release he said in a press conference that it was very saddened that his teacher got the wrong impression of the clock.
“When I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her,” he said and added “in my perspective it didn’t look like a bomb,” he added.
He said that the police officers detained him and asked what the clock might be used for. He told police officers repeatedly that his intentions were to only make a clock.
The charges againist Mohamed have been dropped on Wednesday but he remains suspended from school until Thursday.
He stated that he doesn’t care about receiving an apology from the school and the police department, despite he was treated as a "terrorist," but he does want his clock back.
Thanking everyone for their support messages, he said "I'm thinking about transfering any other schools than MacArthur."
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed - who is originally from Sudan - said after the incident that his son only wants to invent good things for mankind and the reason why he was mistreated is because of his muslim name, Mohamed.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations reiterated Mohamed's fathers suspicions. Alia Salem, the head of the local branch said that "I think this wouldn't even be a question if his name wasn't Ahmed Mohamed."