Dallas, US (BBN)-The Muslim teenager arrested for bringing his home-made clock into school which teachers claimed ‘looked like a bomb’ has said he will go to the White House to visit Barack Obama after the President extended an invite to him earlier in the day.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, received messages of support from across the globe Wednesday after an image of him being handcuffed and escorted out of MacArthur High School, in Irving, Texas, went viral, reports the Daily Mail.
Among the outpouring of sympathy was a message from Obama inviting Ahmed to bring his clock to the White House, an offer that the teenager said he would accept this evening.
Speaking at a press conference on CBS, Ahmed also thanked Obama, Democrat Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for their messages of support, saying he is ‘pleased’ they oppose what happened to him.
Obama had tweeted: ‘Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.’
Ahmed was arrested on Monday after he used old circuit boards and wires to create a digital clock and brought it into MacArthur High School to show his engineering teacher.
While the engineering teacher approved, Ahmed got into trouble after the device started beeping while in an English class, and the second teacher mistook it for a bomb.
The school’s principal called police, and Ahmed then says he was arrested, handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention.
While it was initially reported that Ahmed might be charged with creating a bomb hoax at the school, today he was cleared of all charges.
However, speaking this afternoon, he said that he is still suspended from school until Thursday, and said police have still not given him his clock back.
He also said he may never return to MacArthur High, saying he is looking at transferring to ‘any other school’ following his arrest.
Addressing his supporters, he said: ‘Thank you to all my supporters on Twitter, Facebook, and social media.
‘I would never have got this far if it wasn’t for you guys. Not just you guys, but everybody.’
Among those was Mark Zuckerberg who extended an invite to meet the 14-year-old and wrote on his personal Facebook page: ‘Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.
‘Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you.’
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also joined in and tweeted: ‘Assumptions and fear don’t keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building.’
Bobak Ferdoswi, an American systems engineer at NASA, wrote: ‘Hey Ahmed, give me a call in a couple years. We could always use smart, curious & creative people.’
Asked about his arrest and whether police spoke to him without a lawyer present, Ahmed appeared to confirm it, but was quickly hushed by his legal team, who said they would respond to those allegations at a later date.
Despite the outpouring of support for Ahmed, including from President Obama and Hillary Clinton, Irving’s mayor did not seem to share their outrage at the arrest.Writing on Facebook, Van Duyne said: ‘I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat.
They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered.
They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel.
‘To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a Hoax Bomb to a school campus.
‘Following this investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student.
‘I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.’
She later added that she would be ‘very upset’ if the same thing happened to her child, and said she hopes Ahmed will not be discouraged from trying hard at school, but offered no apology to him or his parents for what had happened.
Speaking about his future, Ahmed said that he wants to attend either Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Tampa.
He also told reporters that he has other inventions in the works which involves using magnets to generate power, but refused to reveal details, saying he wanted to get it patented first.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said charges won’t be filed against Ahmed, but said the teen should have been ‘forthcoming’ by going beyond the description that what he made was a clock.
Boyd said the clock ‘was certainly suspicious in nature,’ reports DallasNews.com.
‘The student showed the device to a teacher, who was concerned that it was possibly the infrastructure for a bomb,’ Boyd said, adding that Ahmed was handcuffed ‘for his safety and for the safety of the officers.’
‘The follow-up investigation revealed the device apparently was a homemade experiment, and there’s no evidence to support the perception he intended to create alarm,’ Boyd said.
Boyd said Ahmed’s religious beliefs did not factor into the decisions taken.
‘We live in an age where you can’t take things like that to school,’ Boyd said.
On Wednesday afternoon when asked about the president’s tweet, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, ‘The president like many of us was struck by the news reports of this particular incident.’
‘In this instance, it’s clear that at least some of Ahmed’s teachers failed him. That’s too bad. But it’s not too late for all of us to use this as a teachable moment. And to search our own conscious for biases in whatever form they take.
When discussing if Obama thought bias was a factor, he said: ‘From this distance it’s far too early to draw that direct assessment from here.’
But he said, ‘I think there are some difficult and penetrating questions that do need to be asked in pursuit [of that information].’
‘This episode is a good illustration of how pernicious stereotypes can prevent even goodhearted people who dedicated their lives to educating young people from doing the good work that they set out to do.’
The White House, he said, was pleased to extend an invitation for the student participate in astronomy night next month.
At the event he’ll have the opportunity to meet with government scientists and NASA officials.
‘We are hopeful that Ahmed will feel right at home here.’
Earlier on Wednesday, Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News that he built the clock on Sunday in his bedroom in about 20 minutes, using a circuit board, a digital display and several wires.
He enclosed the device into a pencil case with a tiger hologram on the front.
Ahmed said he first showed his invention to his engineering teacher, who gave him some advice.
‘He was like, ‘That’s really nice. I would advise you not to show that to other teachers.”
He kept the clock in his bag, but it started to beep later in the day during an English class.
He showed his clock to the teacher who said it looked like a bomb.
Ahmed said he made the clock using a circuit board, a digital display and put it into a metal ‘pencil box’.
He said he did not lock the box as he ‘did not want it to look suspicious’. Instead he secured it with a cable.
Ahmed said the principal claimed his clock looked like a ‘movie bomb’.
He was led away from the school in handcuffs while wearing a NASA t-shirt.
Speaking after his release, Ahmed said: ‘It made me feel like a I wasn’t a human. It made me feel like I was a criminal.’
Police spokesman James McLellan said: ‘We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb. He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.
‘It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?’
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has already spoken to lawyers in connection with Ahmed’s situation.
Reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly critical of the handling of the situation.
His family has asked campaigners to share the photograph of Ahmed been led away in handcuffs.
A twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed has been trending prominently, with celebrities such as Wil Wheaton, who played a child science prodigy in Star Trek Next Generation supporting the teenager.
During the interrogation, Ahmed was not allowed to contact his mother or father and the authorities seized his invention as well as his tablet computer.
The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed was tweeted more than 450,000 times by early Wednesday afternoon.
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who earlier told the Morning News that his son ‘just wants to invent good things for mankind.
But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.’
His father, who immigrated from Sudan and once ran for that country’s presidency, told CNN Wednesday that he was upset that the school did not contact him immediately to tell him about the situation.
The boy’s family says Ahmed was suspended for three days. It’s not clear if he’ll be allowed to return to school now that police have said he won’t be charged.
School district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver declined to confirm the suspension, citing privacy laws.
This spring, the city council endorsed one of several bills under discussion in the Texas Legislature that would forbid judges from rulings based on ‘foreign laws’ – legislation opponents view as unnecessary and driven by anti-Muslim sentiment.
At a later council meeting, the turnout included some denouncing Islam. One woman declared ‘Sharia law is Islam, and Islam’s goal is to immigrate, assimilate and annihilate.’ A man sitting in the audience shouted ‘That is offensive!’ and was escorted out.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reviewing the action against Ahmed.
‘This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,’ Alia Salem, executive A 14-year-old Muslim student will face no criminal charges for taking a homemade clock to class that his suburban Dallas high school teachers thought resembled a bomb, the police chief said Wednesday.