Millions of people around the world expressed their outrage through the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed after the 14-year-old Muslim student from Texas, Ahmed Mohamed, was handcuffed and arrested in front of all his classmates for taking a homemade clock to this high school.
Mohamed wanted to impress his teachers with his newest creation which consisted of a clock that he had built in under 20 minutes.
His invention consisted of a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display, according to RT. “The clock and its wirings were all strapped inside a case,” the Russian news outlet added.
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But, Mohamed's excitement quickly turned into fear as he was pulled out of class by the school principal and arrested after the clock's alarm went off during his English period.
“It looks like a bomb,” his teacher told him. The boy was taken to a juvenile detention center and questioned by police before being released to his parents.
According to RT, it was not until two days later that police announced they would not charge the high school student for creating a “hoax bomb.” Instead, they dropped the case.
Between Ahmed’s arrest and the announcement that he would not face charges, social media exploded with millions of tweets ranging from funny to supportive.
The humiliating experience of Mohamed could be compared with the story of another teen, in this case a white boy, who built a nuclear reactor at home and instead of being arrested, he was congratulated by the United States government, proving there are double standards when it comes to skin color.
The Muslim student built a simple clock to show his engineering teacher and instead ended up arrested, a lesson he will never forget.
Taylor Wilson, a white 14-year-old boy, was invited to meet officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Energy, who even offered their expert assistance, equipment and encouragement to the boy to apply for a research grant, praising him for his nuclear reactor.
Wilson, now 21, competed with his nuclear fusion reactor five years ago in a series of science fairs that eventually won him a trip to Switzerland, where he toured the Large Hadron Collider — the world’s largest particle accelerator.
Wilson later won a US$50,000-prize at a science fair for an anti-terrorism device he invented that can detect nuclear materials in cargo containers. He showed the device to President Barack Obama at a science fair organized at the White House.
After Mohamed's story sparked national outrage, Obama felt compelled to invite the Muslim teen to the White House.
There are many Ahmeds out there having the absolute worst ASSUMED about them because of racist stereotypes #IStandWithAhmed — Sam White (@samwhiteout)
September 17, 2015
Raw Story published an article remembering that in April 2013 a black Florida teen, Kiera Wilmot, was arrested and expelled after her science fair experiment, which involved mixing toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a plastic water bottle, created a chemical reaction that resulted in a firecracker-like “pop” and some smoke. No injuries or damage were caused, but the Bartown high school principal said the device had violated school policies.
Police charged Wilmot, then 16, with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and with discharging a destructive device, Raw Story said.
Fortunately, Wilmot was eventually cleared of charges and went to the U.S. Space Academy after a NASA veteran heard about her story and paid for scholarships for her and her twin sister.