9th Grade Muslim Boy Arrested For Building A Clock That His Teacher Decided Might Be A Bomb

Meet Ahmed Mohamed, a ninth grader living in Irving, Texas. Ahmed loves playing around with electronics and on Monday, he managed to do something seriously cool: he built a clock from scratch! And he did it in just about 20 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I can barely figure out how to work my DVR, so I’m just dazzled by kids who look at wires and motors and somehow know what to do with them. These kids are the future! They’re the ones who are going to get us to our new home planet when our alien overlords take over Earth.

Or, if you are an Islamophobic teacher who sees something they don’t understand and immediately leaps to ridiculous and terrible conclusions, a kid like Ahmed is a potential terrorist. See, Ahmed was so proud of his homemade electronic clock that he brought it into show his teachers at school. One teacher was impressed with his work, but suggested he keep the clock to himself. Later, in another class, the clock beeped and Ahmed had to show another teacher what he made, the clock strapped inside a pencil case. She thought it looked like a bomb. And so the police were called and Ahmed was pulled out of class, his project removed from his possession.

Via the Dallas Morning News:

The teacher kept the clock. When the principal and a police officer pulled Ahmed out of sixth period, he suspected he wouldn’t get it back.

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.

“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.’”

Ahmed was then ARRESTED, led out of the school in handcuffs, was suspended for three days, and police are allegedly still investigating the “incident,” because apparently if you are a brown kid who is far more brilliant than your teachers, you are automatically considered a threat.

Let’s be clear about something: Ahmed’s teacher, the school principal, school authorities and the police were not so concerned that Ahmed’s clock was actually a bomb that they, you know, evacuated the school or did anything whatsoever to ensure the safety of the student body. No, all they did was treat an incredibly smart student like a terrorist. If a white student had brought in the same project, I feel confident saying he or she wouldn’t have faced the humiliating interrogation and punishment that Ahmed was forced to endure.

(In fact, that white child might have even been patted on the back for his innovation and creativity. Like Taylor Wilson, a 14-year-old who literally built a nuclear reactorhis talents were nurtured and encouraged by parents, teachers and mentors, and he was even the subject of a book.)

Like many others who are reacting to this story today, I am absolutely enraged and disgusted by how Ahmed was treated. I hope that a person like Neil deGrasse Tyson sees his story and recognizes his gifts and offers up the kind of support and mentorship that Ahmed’s teachers failed to offer because of their own prejudices. I hope Ahmed is sent to space camp. I hope that his college tuition is paid for. I hope scientific thinkers and luminaries see themselves in him and take him under their wings. And I hope each and every person who treated this bright young man like a criminal sees how wrong they were when he grows up and makes a positive impact on the world that they are utterly incapable of. I hope Ahmed is able to realize all his dreams and shows those motherfuckers what’s good.