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#IStandWithAhmed - Millions Show Solidarity with Wrongfully Arrested Teen

Slate
It's the kind of thing you almost expect to feature in some kind of satirical comedy sketch. Earlier this week an inventive, enterprising 14-year-old science enthusiast from Texas built a home-made clock and brought it into his school so that he could show it to his teacher. Later in the day, during an English lesson it started beeping and before long the boy found himself being led out of the school in handcuffs at the behest of several staff members and the local police, under suspicion that it was a bomb. Ridiculous, right? Well sadly there's a little more to it than that - the boy in question is also Muslim.



His name is Ahmed Mohamed and according to his family, friends and teachers, inventing things is far from out of character for him. In the past he's made radios, a bluetooth speaker and fixed his friend's tablet. This clearly wasn't enough to stop him being arrested on suspicion of planning to either blow up part of the school or start a hoax bomb scare. 



The police claim that race had absolutely nothing to do with it and that they were just erring on the side of caution, given the dark history of school attacks and shootings woven into America's recent past. Other people say different, as reportedly Ahmed's last name was mentioned numerous times during the ensuing interrogation, as officers insisted that the device looked more like a bomb than a clock and refused to let him contact his family.  


It's hard not to the see the disturbing racial overtones of this story, and the image of an Asian boy in a NASA T-shirt being walked out of his school in handcuffs has resonated with a lot of people. A lot of people. Since the incident Twitter has exploded (sorry) with support for the boy, from expressions of outrage at the way he's been treated to glowing acknowledgements of his skill and aptitude for invention



The support has reached to soaring, dizzying heights as Obama has extended an invitation for Ahmed to visit the White House, Hilary Clinton has encouraged him to keep building, Mark Zuckerberg has asked him to come into Facebook, Google are 'saving a seat' for him at the upcoming Google Science Fair, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass wants him to come into their offices to do some 3D modelling and Reddit and Twitter have both mentioned potential internship offers.



Both Ahmed and his father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, have been very gracious about the outpouring of sympathy and encouragement. Despite this, the McArthur High School still maintained a 3-day suspension and the police are still claiming that they did the right thing, suggesting that Ahmed has been more forthcoming with the press about the clock than he was during interrogation. And why on earth might that be? Perhaps, and this is just an outside guess, being intensely questioned and treated as a potential bomber by 5 police officers might be a somewhat frightening experience for a 14-year-old boy who's done nothing wrong? Just spit-balling here. 

Ahmed had only been at the school for a few weeks and he's now allegedly contemplating moving to a different one. One can hardly blame him, if I were him I'd probably just get a job at NASA, I'm sure Obama would be more than happy to write him a referral. 


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#IStandWithAhmed - Millions Show Solidarity with Wrongfully Arrested Teen Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, September 17, 2015 Rating: 5

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