The 14-year-old, who loves science and inventing, was arrested Monday for what police initially said was a bomb hoax. Turns out, a teacher thought that the clock Ahmed made out of a pencil case looked like a bomb.
A photo of him being led from MacArthur High School in handcuffs went viral on social media and spurred outrage, with many saying the teen had been profiled and punished because he is Muslim. Scientists, celebrities, political leaders and regular people tweeted their encouragement to Ahmed.
The Twitter hashtag #Istandwithahmed was trending globally.
Ahmed was suspended from school for three days, even though police in Irving, Texas, said Wednesday they would not pursue charges against him. He was due to go back to school Thursday, but he said the night before he wasn’t sure what he would do.
In any case, his terrible experience has resulted in some incredible opportunities.
President Barack Obama invited him to the White House next month for an annual Astronomy Night.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” Obama tweeted. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
Facebook was flooded with messages of support for Ahmed and ire for his school, and its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, praised the teen in a post.
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”
Twitter offered Ahmed an internship.
Wednesday night, Ahmed explained why he brought his invention to school.
“I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. So, it was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it,” the teen told reporters at a news conference in front of his home.