Texas teen Ahmed Mohamed didn’t expect the reaction he got when he brought a homemade clock to school.
Mohamed, a 14-year-old engineering student at MacArthur High School, made a clock at home over the weekend and brought it to school to show his engineering teacher his new invention. Instead of getting a praise for his creation, Ahmed was called out of class and was arrested, as authorities said he was trying to build a bomb.
According to police accounts, as reported by USA Today, Mohamed was in English class when he plugged the clock to an outlet and it made noise. The English teacher confiscated the briefcase containing the homemade clock, and he was pulled out of class. The school then phoned the authorities and the teenager was questioned.
The homemade clock, called by the authorities as a “hoax bomb,” was simple, but the police claim that it shows the teen knows what he was doing when he made it. It consisted of a circuit board, a digital display, and a power supply.
I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed’s sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
As Dallas News reports, Mohamed was then questioned by five police officers, who repeatedly asked him why he tried to make a bomb. Ahmed recounted the questioning.
“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’ I told them no, I was trying to make a clock. He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.'”
Officers said that Ahmed didn’t offer further explanations on his creation. They said that the homemade clock may easily be mistaken as a bomb when left out in the open. The police officers had no reason to keep the teen and he was released to his parents, but not before his fingerprints were taken. The principal of the high school suspended Ahmed for three days as well. The school released a statement.
“We always ask our students and staff to immediately report if they observe any suspicious items and/or suspicious behavior.”
According to Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, his son was treated that way because of his race.
“Because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11th, I think my son got mistreated.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Dallas chapter agrees with Ahmed’s father. Alia Salem, the executive director of the North Texas Chapter of CAIR, talked about the issue.
“I think 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.”
Ahmed says that he will no longer bring his inventions to school in fear of the incident happening again. He has been interested in inventing things for a long time, and was a member of the robotics club in middle school.
Do you think this is another case of racial prejudice? Or were school authorities right in calling the police?
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]