After Ahmed Mohamed was detained by police for bringing a homemade clock to his Texas high school because school officials thought it looked like a bomb, President Obama invited the tinkering Muslim teen to bring it to the White House.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
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.
— President Obama (@POTUS)
Ahmed took the president up on the offer, and on Monday, the 14-year-old will be a guest at the White House’s first Astronomy Night.
“I really wanted to meet the president sometime in my life,” Ahmed told Yahoo News on Monday. “I just didn’t know it would be this early.”
Ahmed, who did not bring the device with him to Washington, said he hopes to talk to Obama about his experience as a Muslim who came to the United States after 9/11.
“I’m going to talk to him about, like, how hard it is growing up in America,” he said. “It was pretty hard living in America and going to school being Muslim.”
But Ahmed may not get the opportunity. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday that Obama is not scheduled to meet personally with Ahmed during his visit.
Ahmed Mohamed stands in handcuffs as an Irving, Texas, police officer looks on, Sept. 14. (Photo: Eyman Mohamed via AP)
On Sept. 14, Ahmed, a freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, showed up to school with the clock he built the night before — which featured a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display. He says he showed it to one of his teachers, who confiscated the device, pulled him out of class and sent him to the principal’s office, where he was met by four police officers.
Despite the ninth-grader’s repeated insistence that the device was not a bomb, Ahmed was handcuffed and driven to a juvenile detention center, and police considered pressing charges against him over what they described as a “hoax bomb.”
"If I was a Caucasian male, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten arrested,” Ahmed said Monday.
Police decided not to charge Ahmed, who has since left MacArthur High School and is being home-schooled until he finds a new one.
Ahmed arrives at his family’s home in Irving on Sept. 17. (Photo: AP)
Ahmed’s story exploded on social media as Twitter users expressed solidarity with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed and outrage over what they felt was a case of anti-Muslim discrimination.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, though, was not one of them.
“President Obama, at every stage, tries to politicize what happens, whether it is this teenager here in Texas, whether it is the shootings we saw in the Pacific Northwest,” Cruz said Sunday. “Over and over again, sadly, he seeks to try to divide us, to try to tear us apart. The president really ought to be looking for ways to bring us together, to unify us.”
Ahmed declined to respond to Cruz’s comments.
“I’m really not into politics,” he said. “I’m into science.”
As for his next invention?
“I’m working on a power generator,” he said. “I’m hoping it gets used somewhere where there isn’t electricity.”