14-year old Muslim boy arrested for making clock mistaken for bomb

A Texas high school freshman said he was arrested Monday after one of his teachers said a homemade clock he had brought to school looked like a bomb.

The Dallas Morning News reported late Tuesday that Ahmed Mohamed, 14, has been suspended from MacArthur High School in Irving and police say they may charge the teen with making a hoax bomb.

Mohamed told the News that he built the clock in about 20 minutes Sunday evening using a pencil case, a circuit board, and a power supply wired to a digital display. Mohamed said he showed it to his engineering teacher Monday morning.

"He was like, 'That's really nice,'" Mohamed told the paper. "'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'"

Later in the day, the News reports, Mohamed's English teacher complained when the clock beeped in the middle of a lesson. When Mohamed showed her the device after class, he claims she told him, "It looks like a bomb."

"It doesn't look like a bomb to me," Mohamed says he told her. The teacher kept the device, and the school's principal and a police officer pulled Mohamed out of class and brought him to a room where five other officers questioned him and searched his belongings.

"It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car," Irving police spokesman James McLellan told the News. "The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?" McClellan admitted that Mohamed has always maintained the device was a clock and officers have no reason to believe the contraption is dangerous.

Ultimately, the paper reported Mohamed was taken to a juvenile detention center, fingerprinted, and released to his parents, who claim their son was singled out because he is Muslim.

"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," Ahmed's father Mohamed told the News. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is investigating the incident. Alia Salem, the director of the organization's North Texas chapter, said the case "raises a red flag" and "seems pretty egregious."

The Irving School District has made no public comment on the matter.

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