Ahmed Mohamed had been detained for hours after police in Texas thought a clock he built was a bomb
A court in Texas has dismissed a lawsuit by the family of a Muslim teen who was invited to the White House by Barack Obama after having constructed a clock that police mistook for a bomb.
Ahmed Mohamed, who was 14 at the time, became an Internet sensation after being handcuffed and detained for hours for bringing his “invention”—a circuit board wired to a digital display—to school in the Texas city of Irving, near Dallas. He was charged with making a “hoax bomb,” though the charge was later dropped. Ahmed said he merely wanted to show his work to a new teacher to impress her.
The Irving school system suspended Ahmed for three days even after determining that his clock was harmless. The lawsuit contended he was discriminated against because of his race or religion (his parents immigrated from Sudan). But in a decision on Thursday, federal judge Sam Lindsay found that the plaintiffs had offered no facts “from which this court can reasonably infer that any [Irving school district] employee intentionally discriminated against A.M. based on his race or religion.”
An attorney representing the Mohameds said they planned to appeal the decision.
The story of the inventive teen whose electronics hobby made him a terror suspect gained worldwide attention when it arose in September 2015. It was seen by some as evidence of widespread anti-Muslim sentiment among American police. But others flocked to support him.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” then president Obama tweeted at the time. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science.”
The young man’s family accepted Obama’s offer, and the following month Ahmed visited the presidential residence during a day devoted to the sciences. The young inventor—quickly dubbed the “clock boy” on social media—received an avalanche of supportive messages in America and abroad.
Silicon Valley’s leading institutions sent sympathetic messages; he received offers to intern at Twitter and to visit the offices of Google and Facebook. But his family announced not long afterward that they would be moving to Qatar.