On September 14, high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed was handcuffed in his Texas high school after a clock the student had made was assumed to be a bomb. Mohamed, a member of his school's robotics club, is a Muslim with parents from Sudan — and his arrest triggered a nationwide outpouring of anger over the Islamaphobia, racism, and over-aggressive policing many see in the incident. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed, which was trending on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday morning, has been tweeted over 200,000 times (and counting). Users have jumped on to praise his curiosity and interest in science — and to condemn prejudice. President Obama was among those to express support:
Along with U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:
Ahmed was photographed with handcuffs behind his back wearing a NASA T-shirt; an engineer from the space agency, Bobak Ferdowsi, jumped in to offer the boy a job (a couple years from now).
And hundreds others joined in to praise his scientific spirit.
Ahmed Mohamed lives in Irving — a conservative town whose mayor, Beth Van Duyne, made national news earlier this year for an anti-Sharia law bill many read as Islamophobic. Irving is, of course, in Texas, a state notorious for its pro-gun culture. That lead to a lot of tweets that look like this
Now it looks like Mohamed is going to have a busy social calendar, since many of his supporters have offered him tech company office tours, and even a stay at space camp.
Mohamed was released from police custody but the school suspended him for three days. He tweeted his gratitude on Wednesday morning.