Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving, Texas student who was detained after teachers mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, has received support from all over the world. The MacArthur High School student was interrogated by police on Monday after he presented the homemade gadget to his teachers, who were consequently convinced it was a detonation device. Authorities were called and the teen was handcuffed, detained by police officers, and suspended for three days.
Ahmed’s story instantly went viral after a photo of the young 14-year-old in cuffs made its way online.
Many say the school and authorities displayed Islamophobic tendencies. MacArthur released a statement, insisting actions were taken merely to ensure the safety of students, but authorities’ behavior still led to the xenophobic suspicions.
The Dallas Morning News reports:
They led Ahmed into a room where four other police officers waited. He said an officer he’d never seen before leaned back in his chair and remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.” Ahmed felt suddenly conscious of his brown skin and his name — one of the most common in the Muslim religion. But the police kept him busy with questions.
Ahmed’s story continued to receive a mass amount of attention, especially after he revealed his skills, like repairing his go-kart from scratch, fixing his uncle’s car, and creating motherboards for media players. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed soon followed, with stories from other Muslim teens who have experienced racist incidents because of the color of their skin.
The tech world also supported the teen, encouraging him to keep using his skills for good.
See some more great moments that have happened to Ahmed since the discovery of his homemade clock.
He’s Been Invited to the White House & Silicon Valley
President Barack Obama invited Ahmed and his clock to the White House, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg implored him to tour the social media company. More head honchos from Silicon Valley extended invites to Ahmed – such as Google, 3M, and others.
MIT Has Shown Interest
Ahmed told reporters he’s interested in attending the White House to meet President Obama, but the biggest invite came from his dream school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his interview with MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes, Ahmed was surprised by an appearance from astrophysicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. The scientist, who also works for the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research and the Department of Physics at MIT, told the teen he was the “ideal student” for their institution.
“I just want to say, you are my ideal student,” Prescod-Weinstein told the teen. “A creative, independent thinker like you is the kind of person who should be becoming a physicist. As a theoretical physicist, I would love it if you took an interest in the mathematical side, although you’re clearly very adept with your hands and at building things. You are the kind of student we want at places like MIT and Harvard.”
MIT might have some competition–Harvard also invited him on a tour of their astrophysics facility.
He Wants To Become An Engineer
Ahmed has always wanted to be an engineer and during his interview with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts, he said the incident has only inspired him to keep inventing.
“I was scared at the moment but now I feel really happy that I’m getting all this support from all over the world and the support isn’t just for me but it’s for everyone who’s been through this,” Ahmed said on “GMA.” “I wanted to have my teacher see that I want to be an engineer when I grow up, so I guess now I get millions of people watching me be an engineer.”
He also said social media (which he was never a fan of) has proven that not all people are judgmental of the Muslim community.
NASA Invited Him To Their Space Station
After his sisters shared the photo of Ahmed being detained at MacArthur High on Twitter, the young man’s confused look was automatically noticed, along with his NASA t-shirt. Scientists at the space agency showed their support almost immediately.
Conversation About Islamophobia In The Muslim Community
Social media support for Ahmed turned into a debate about race, culture, and Islamophobia. Texas has a history with the topic, with two politicians making Anti-Muslim comments this summer. Protesters also came out during Texas Muslim Capitol Day in January, taking over the podium to promise the Muslim citizens that xenophobic leaders wouldn’t take over the state.
Ahmed’s supporters also made comparisons to Kiera Wilmot, a Black 16-year-old Florida teen who was arrested over her science experiment, which involved a mix of household chemicals. In the past, White teens have been praised for their advanced inventions – without the interrogation or judgment.
All in all, Ahmed’s story won’t soon be forgotten. In addition to his MIT aspirations, he plans to keep fighting against racial inequality.
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