Muslim Teen Arrested After Texas School Believes Homemade Clock Is a Bomb

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Ahmed Mohamed was proud of the clock he’d made, but that clock landed him in handcuffs after educators and police in Irving, Texas, refused to believe it wasn’t a bomb.

The photo of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed is jarring. The slender Muslim teen is wearing a NASA T-shirt, glasses and a confused look on his face. He is also wearing handcuffs; a police officer stands in the background.

Ahmed's charge: being smarter than the small-mindedness displayed by those at an Irving, Texas, high school who saw the inventive teen's homemade clock, added in his religion and concluded that the teen had made a bomb.


Ahmed makes things, all sorts of things. His room, according to the Dallas Morning News, is filled with wires and bits, circuit boards and soldering irons. He understands electronics and likes to tinker. He fixes his own go-cart.   

Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News that he brought the digital clock, which took him all of 20 minutes to make, to MacArthur High Monday to show his engineering teacher because he was proud.

"He was like, 'That's really nice,' " Ahmed told the Morning News. " 'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.' "

Ahmed kept the clock in his bag, but the alarm went off during his English class. Once class was over, Ahmed brought his handiwork up to show the teacher.


"She was like, 'It looks like a bomb,' " he said. "I told her, 'It doesn't look like a bomb to me.' "

According to the Morning News, Ahmed's English teacher kept the clock. The school's principal and a police officer took Ahmed from his sixth-period class to a room with four other officers.


When he walked in, an officer that Ahmed had never seen before said, "Yup. That's who I thought it was."

Ahmed told the newspaper that the officers questioned him and had his belongings searched. He also said that the principal threatened to expel him if he didn't make a written statement. 


"They were like, 'So you tried to make a bomb?' " Ahmed said.

"I told them, 'No, I was trying to make a clock.' "

"He said, 'It looks like a movie bomb to me.' "

Around 3 p.m., with a police officer on each side of him, Ahmed was taken from the school in handcuffs. Several students gasped, according to Ahmed, and the student counselor "who knows that I'm a good boy" looked on in shock, he said.


Ahmed maintained that what he'd made was a clock, because it was. Yet he was still arrested, fingerprinted and held until his parents came to the police station to pick him up. Police toyed with the idea of charging Ahmed, but as of Tuesday, it appeared that no charges had been filed.

"We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb," police spokesman James McLella told the Dallas Morning News. "He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation."


Ahmed was suspended for three days for making the clock.

"They thought, 'How could someone like this build something like this unless it's a threat?' " Ahmed said.


Since news of Ahmed's arrest, the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed has been created, with several people voicing concern about how the teen was treated.


"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the newspaper. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."


The Council on American-Islamic Relations told the newspaper that it had heard of Ahmed's arrest and that it was looking into the incident.

"We're still investigating," Alia Salem, who directs the council's North Texas chapter, told the Morning News, adding, "But it seems pretty egregious."


Ahmed has vowed never to bring another invention to his school.

Read more at the Dallas Morning News

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