You Make A Clock, They Call It A Bomb!

“My son’s name is Mohamed. People just think Muslims are terrorists, but we are peaceful, we are not that way,” says Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, father of the famous 15-year old clock maker from Irving, Texas.

Ahmed Mohamed, a ninth grader in MacArthur High School was handcuffed and taken to a detention center, fingerprinted, interrogated, and suspended for three days – because his science teacher mistook his sophisticated, meticulously-designed clock project for a bomb. “I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it, and I got arrested for it later that day,” he said.

According to eyewitnesses and Mohamed himself, he was pulled out of class by his principal and five police officers, then taken to a room, where he was declined to contact his parents. “I felt like a criminal,” Mohamed said. “I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called.” The teenager was being asked a couple of times if his masterpiece is a bomb, and he answered a couple of times, “It is a clock.” Mohamed has been called “bombmaker” and a “terrorist,” because of this incident at the school.

Ahmed’s parents are infuriated by what their son has experienced in school and have hired Thomas Bower and Reggie London on their behalf. The lawyers said in a statement that the teen’s civil and legal rights have been compromised. “The family wants justice and to ensure no family will have to experience what Ahmed went through again,” they added. Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, the father of 14-year-old science prodigy, told the newspaper that he formally withdrew his son from the Irving Independent School District, adding that he was also pulling out his two other children. “These kids aren’t going to be happy there,” he said. Ahmed himself, believed that he was arrested because of his race and religion.  He recalled that the interrogator, aka the officer, reclined in chair and remarking, “That’s who I thought it was,” and Ahmed took it to mean the officer was singling him out due to his race.

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who previous had controversial interactions with Irving Muslim community, defended the school district and police. In the statement, she said, “I do not fault the school or police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat,” claiming the police officers followed all the standard procedures. Police Chief Larry Boyd said authorities were able to determine quickly that it wasn’t a bomb. However they investigated Ahmed to determine whether he brought the device to school with the intention of creating alarm.  It is against Texas law to use or possess a fake bomb with the intent to make someone believe that it is an explosive.  However, the law does not provide the definition of a “fake bomb”.

Although no charges were filed, and police said they would review decisions officers made in Ahmed arrest.  Hundreds and thousands of citizens are apparently unsatisfied by the notorious incident. The hashtags campaign #IStandWithAhmed and #EngineersForAhmed are garnering over 1 million of posts and tweets on social media, vouching for the young computer engineer.  Many critical of the school district and police,  denounce the action as racial profiling.  Besides the clamors from the media, President Obama, founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, leaders at NASA, MIT, Reddit forum, and Twitter also weighed in, which is probably the good thing in the midst of the incident.

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like him to like science. It’s what makes America great,” a message on Obama’s Twitter feed said. Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest,” adding that Ahmed is now being invited to drop by his company. Google and Reddit are offering Ahmed internships, and his dream-school, MIT, has invited him for a campus visit, making Ahmed ecstatic- yet nervous. Ahmed expressed his gratitude publicly to the media.  He said the clock is part of his future. He wants to become somebody great. Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Ahmed answered the hosts, “I was scared at the moment, but now I feel really happy. I am getting all the support from all over the world, and the support isn’t just for me, but for everyone who has been treated this way. I will fight for you if you can’t stand up for yourself.”

The question, I would ask, in regards to Ahmed is, What If An Asian Or A White Kid Made The Clock?