Muslim boy's homemade clock mistaken for bomb

Posted at 3:59 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 17:59:21-04

Police say they will not charge a 14-year-old Muslim boy who was arrested after teachers became needlessly alarmed that a homemade digital clock he brought to his Texas high school might be a bomb.

President Obama has invited the student to the White House. In a tweet posted Wednesday, Obama called Ahmed Mohamed’s clock "cool" and said more kids should be inspired like him to enjoy science, because “it’s what makes America great.” And President Obama isn't alone in offering support:




You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Irving police Chief Larry Boyd said at a Wednesday news conference that Ahmed Mohamed will not be charged with possessing a hoax bomb because there’s no evidence that he meant to cause any harm.

Boyd said the clock that Ahmed built looked "suspicious in nature."

Yet, Boyd added, "we are confident it's not an explosive device" intended to cause "alarm." Rather, he said, officers determined it was "a hoax bomb" and a "naive accident," The Dallas Morning News reported.

As a result, Boyd said, no charges will be filed against Ahmed, and "the case is considered closed." He also said "the reaction would have been the same regardless" of the student's skin color, the News reported.

Ahmed’s family says administrators at MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving on Monday suspended the teenager for three days after he showed the clock to teachers.

Irving Independent School District spokeswoman Lesley Weaver says officials were concerned with student safety and not the boy’s Muslim faith.

The boy makes his own radios, repairs his own go-cart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling a clock using a circuit board, power supply wired to a digital display and other items, the News reported.

On Monday, Ahmed showed the clock to his engineering teacher and then another teacher after the clock, which was in his backpack, beeped during class. That teacher told him that it looked like a bomb, the newspaper reported.

Ahmed was later pulled from class and brought before the principal and Irving police officers for questioning.

The school district said in a statement that Ahmed was detained by police. Irving police spokesman James McLellan told the Morning News that police were determining whether to file a charge of making a hoax bomb.

“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 is reviewing the matter.

“This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,” said Alia Salem, executive director of the council’s North Texas chapter.

Meanwhile, Ahmed is sitting home in his bedroom, tinkering with old gears and electrical converters, pronouncing words like "ethnicity" for what sounds like the first time, according to the News.

He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again.