A 14-year-old North Texas student and his family blame fear of Islam for his arrest on charges of making a “hoax bomb.”
Ahmed Mohamed, a freshman at Irving MacArthur High School, said he took an electronic clock he built over the weekend to school Monday morning to show his first period engineering teacher his skill with making things.
“I wanted to start clean with the teacher by showing him my inventions and stuff,” he said.
Mohamed said problems arose when the clock rang in his back pack in class with a second teacher later in the day. He said he showed that teacher the device after other students had left the room.
“She said, ‘Well it looks like a bomb. Don’t show it to anyone else,’” he said. “And she decides to take it from me.”
Mohamed said police handcuffed him and took him to Irving police headquarters for interrogation, fingerprints and mug shots. He said his family surname repeatedly came up in police questioning.
“I tried making a phone call to my father. They said, ‘You’re in the middle of an interrogation. You can’t have a phone call,’” he said. “I really don’t think it’s fair, because I brought something to school that wasn’t a threat to anyone. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just showed my teachers something and I end up being arrested later that day.”
His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, said he drove his son to school Monday morning and encouraged him to demonstrate his gift for technology.
“We are in the melting pot,” the father said. “We are in the greatest country. We need this trouble not to hinder us, as Muslims, as Christians, as Jews, or whatever you are.”
Irving police released a report Tuesday that lists three MacArthur High teachers as complainants against the teen on the charge of “hoax bomb.” Irving Police Officer James McLellan said school officials simply thought the device was suspicious and acted out of caution.
Ahmed Mohamed withdraws from school that suspended him for clock
The family of a 14-year-old Muslim student who got in trouble over a homemade clock mistaken for a possible bomb withdrew the boy Monday from his suburban Dallas high school.
Ahmed Mohamed’s father, Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed, said he has pulled all of his children from their Irving Independent School District schools. Mohamed said the family is still deciding where to send the children to school.
Ahmed has said he brought the clock he made to MacArthur High School in Irving last week to show a teacher. Officials say he was arrested after another teacher saw it and became concerned. Ahmed wasn’t charged, but he was suspended from school for three days.
“Ahmed said, `I don’t want to go to MacArthur,’” Ahmed’s father told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/1QuOnJQ ). “These kids aren’t going to be happy there.”
News of the arrest sparked an outpouring of support for Ahmed, including from President Barack Obama.
The turmoil surrounding Ahmed’s case has had a harmful effect on the teen, Mohamed said, adding that his son has lost his appetite and is not sleeping well.
“It’s torn the family and makes us very confused,” Mohamed said.
Numerous schools have offered to enroll Ahmed, his father said. But Mohamed said he wants to give his son a breather before making a decision. He said his entire family plans to fly to New York on Wednesday, where United Nations dignitaries want to meet his son. Then, if the appropriate visas can be obtained, Mohamed wants to take his son on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“I ask Allah to bless this time. After that, we’ll see,” Mohamed said.
When they return, a visit to the White House and a meeting with Obama is in the works, he said.