President Barack Obama on Wednesday invited Ahmed Mohamed – the 14-year-old from Irving, Texas, who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock that “looked like a bomb” to school – to bring the clock to the White House.
Obama tweeted from his account on Wednesday:
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 (@POTUS44) September 16, 2015
In his tweet he also said the US should do more to inspire “kids like you to like science” – that, Obama said, is what “makes America great.”
Although Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd has now deemed Mohamed’s arrest a “naive accident” and announced that no charges would be filed against him, the incident spurred outrage on social media after The Dallas Morning News reported on his arrest.
Boyd also said “the reaction would have been the same regardless” of the student’s skin color or religion, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Mohamed, whose hobby is to build electronics, constructed the clock, which consisted of a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display. He brought it to school to show his teachers.
After the alarm went off in English class, Mohamed showed it to his teacher, who told him it looked like a bomb. He told her it was a clock, but she kept it, and he was taken out of class by the school’s principal and a police officer.
Mohamed told the Morning News that when he was taken into the room for questioning, he was asked whether he had tried to make a bomb. He said he told them it was just a clock, but police led him out of school in handcuffs and took him to a juvenile-detention center.
The school sent out a letter to parents assuring them the school was taking every measure to keep their children safe, and that they were working closely with police, who established the item “did not pose a threat to your child’s safety.”
In a video published on The Dallas Morning News’ website, Mohamed explained what happened:
His arrest prompted a flurry of social-media users to show their support for him, tweeting out anecdotes and messages backing him with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed.
#IStandWithAhmed because when my 1-year-old Muslim American boy grows up and builds a badass clock, I want him celebrated, not arrested.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) September 16, 2015
#IStandWithAhmed because he is someone with an intelligent mind that doesn’t need racial profiling to get in the way of being someone great!
— Amina (@Minaz_13) September 16, 2015
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s account also tweeted in support of Mohamed, encouraging him to “stay curious.”