Clock-Making Teen Ahmed Is Moving With His Family To Qatar

When the now-famous clock-making kid Ahmed Mohamed was arrested earlier this fall, there was a massive outpouring of support — culminating with a trip to the White House on Monday. And yet, it might not have been enough to make Ahmed and his family feel welcome.

It was announced today that he and his family plan to relocate to Qatar, where Ahmed will attend the Young Innovators Program at the Qatar Foundation for Education. “We are going to move to a place where my kids can study and learn and all of them being accepted by that country,” his father told the Dallas Morning News yesterday.

A little over a month ago, Ahmed, a budding engineer, brought a homemade clock to his school in Irving, TX, hoping to impress his teachers. Instead, the police were called, and the young boy was arrested after being interrogated by no fewer than four police officers. Many were quick to identify the authorities as blatantly Islamophobic, a charge they vehemently denied.

Even if the family is leaving, Ahmed's legacy still might do some good. Rep. Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, is using the incident to call for change. "I am deeply concerned with Ahmed’s experience, as it seems to point to a growing level of bigotry and bullying in this country based on race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs," he said, in a statement emailed to R29. "We have to stand together and ask the hard questions: Would a student with a different name have been treated the same? Why was there an excessive use of his last name during questioning, even though it had nothing to do with the investigation?"

Rep. Honda joined with 26 other representatives in calling for a full investigation into Ahmed's arrest.

A score of public figures — Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama — reached out to to offer their support and encouragement to him after his arrest. But positive social reinforcement is not a substitute for institutional recourse. Neither the Irving police department nor MacArthur High School administrators have apologized for their actions, or taken any steps to redress the systemic issues that led to his arrest and suspension.

Judging by his parents' desire to move him and his siblings out of the U.S., that lack is telling. In a matter of months, this story will fade from the news, and his family would have been just another minority family living in Texas. Sadly, it sounds like they don't feel as if that's the right place for them.
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