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Ahmed Mohamed made a clock, and it changed his life

Kunal Majumder | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 7:25 IST

If you've been on the internet at all in the past 48 hours, you know that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed - an Irving, Texas resident - got arrested for making a clock and taking it to school.

Those who know Ahmed know he loves to tinker with tech stuff, always innovating with old circuits and appliances.

Hoping to impress his teacher, he put together a digital clock inside a steel box.

Except the teacher took it away, reported it to school authorities, and a few hours later Ahmed found himself handed over to the police on the suspicion of building a bomb.

No matter how much he explained, Ahmed was handcuffed and removed from his class. He was detained at a juvenile centre and five policemen interrogated him, only to come to the eventual conclusion: it's just a clock, not a bomb.

It could have ended there - a horrific, possibly life-changing incident in one young boy's life. But in the couple of days since, something else happened.

The world took note. And the world decided it was not okay. Whether it was racial profiling at work, or just a callous suspicion of a young boy, Ahmed deserved to not feel like a criminal because he'd been excited to try something new.

Barack Obama was among the first to send out a message: to Ahmed, but also to the world. He tweeted from his official handle, inviting Ahmed to bring his clock to the White House.

Mark Zuckerberg encouraged Ahmed to use his skills and ambition to build things

 

You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The United States Space Camp invited him to stop by and learn from their best

MIT is Ahmed's dream school. A few hours after news of the arrest broke, an MIT physicist told him that's he's just the kind of student they want.

Someone started a campaign to raise money for Ahmed's college tuition, and donations are steadily coming in

Twitter asked Ahmed to DM if he's up for an internship

Google thinks he's just the right person to come to this year's Science Fair

And if he's bored of science and wants to try music, he can always hit it up with Ne-Yo

Possibly more significant than any of this? The lesson for Ahmed that he's not alone: others have faced similar hardship and he wants to help them out.

Sometimes, internet, you take a terrible thing and you make it better.

First published: 14 February 2017, 7:25 IST
 
Kunal Majumder @kunalmajumder

Editor for Speed News aka Catch Live and Operations at Catch, Kunal enjoys measuring his life in numbers. Of his 30 years of life, 12 have been spent working, 9 of them in journalism. The remaining 3 were spent in 2 call centres, talking to British and Australians about insurance and cellphones. In his journalistic capacity, Kunal has worked at 3 publications and headed 2 online teams. The '3' includes Images Multimedia, Tehelka and DNA. The '2' includes Tehelka and DNA. Catch is Kunal's 6th workplace, where he will head his 3rd team as speed news editor. As a reporter, he won 2 awards - Statesman Award for Rural Reporting and UNFPA-Laadli Award for Gender Sensitivity. That's his story in Prime Numbers (a section on this site from which he's taken inspiration).

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