IRVING –– Texas police have decided not to charge a 14-year-old Muslim boy who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school.
Officials at MacArthur High School in Irving alerted police because they thought the device was a “hoax bomb”.
Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest has been sharply criticized, and the boy has received an outpouring of support, including an invitation to the White House.
Ahmed’s family believes he was detained because of his name.
“We have always had an outstanding relationship with the Muslim community,” Irving Police Department chief Larry Boyd said today. “Incidents like this present challenges. We want to learn how we can move forward and turn this into a positive.”
The boy was placed in handcuffs and fingerprinted. He was released after it was determined there was
Under the hashtag #IstandwithAhmed, thousands of Twitter users praised the boy’s initiative and questioned why he was detained including NASA scientists, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and America’s President Barack Obama.
“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,” Obama wrote on Twitter.
The Council On American-Islamic Relations says it is investigating the incident.
Ahmed said that he had made a clock at home and brought it to school to show his engineering teacher.
He said his engineering teacher had congratulated him but advised him “not to show any other teachers”.
The teenager said another teacher became aware of it when the device beeped during the lesson.
“She was like –– it looks like a bomb,” he said.
The homemade clock consisted of a circuit board with wires leading to a digital display.
Later in the day the boy was pulled out of class, interviewed by the headteachers and four police officers, and put into juvenile detention.
The school issued a statement saying it “always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items”.
Ahmed’s father Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who is originally from Sudan, said his son had been mistreated because of his name “and because of September 11”.
Alia Salem of the Council On American-Islamic Relations agreed: “This wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed. He is an excited kid who is very bright and wants to share it with his teachers.”