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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
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Ahmed & His Cool Clock Moving to Qatar

DALLAS (CN) - Hours after meeting President Obama at the White House on Monday, the Texas teenager who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school said he is moving to Qatar to further his education.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, of Irving, was handcuffed and arrested by four police officers at MacArthur High School in September when he brought his homemade device to school to show a teacher. The clock consisted of a circuit board and power supply wired to a digital display inside a pencil case, with a tiger hologram on the front.

Mohamed said the principal threatened to expel him if he did not make a written statement. He was suspended from school for several days but police declined to press charges.

"They were like, 'So you tried to make a bomb ?'" Mohamed said at the time. "I told them no, I was trying to make a clock. He said, 'It looks like a movie bomb to me.'"

A photo of a bewildered Mohamed in handcuffs quickly went viral, amid comments of Islamophobia and racism.

Mohamed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, believed his son was mistreated.

"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," the father said at the time. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."

President Obama quickly stepped into the fray, inviting Mohamed to Washington.

"Cool clock, Ahmed," Obama tweeted on Sept. 16. "Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."

Mohamed briefly met the president Monday evening at the White House Astronomy Night. The annual event hosted several hundred high school students, teachers, NASA officials and scientist Bill Nye to discuss space exploration and careers in science and technology.

Obama told the group that NASA is working on sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

"That means some of the young people here tonight might be working on that project," he said. "Some of you might be on your way to Mars."

Mohamed returned to Texas after spending the past few weeks on a world tour, visiting Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other places. His family said Tuesday that Mohamed has accepted a full scholarship from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development for his remaining high school and undergraduate education. He will join the "prestigious" QF Young Innovators Program and his family will move with him.

"Earlier this month, we were invited to visit QF and were hugely impressed by the state-of-the-art facilities, community atmosphere and vast array of U.S. and international campuses in Education City," the family said in a statement. "My son Ahmed is very excited."

Mohamed said he loved the city of Doha "because it is so modern."

"I saw so many amazing schools there, many of them campuses of famous American universities," he said. "The teachers were great. I think I will learn a lot and have fun, too."

U.S. schools with branch campuses at Education City include Texas A&M, Georgetown, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and Northwestern.

After Mohamed was arrested, his family hired Dallas attorney Thomas Bowers, but no lawsuit has been filed over his arrest.

Follow @davejourno
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