Remember 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school because it looked like a bomb? Mohamed the “clock kid” is moving to Qatar after his White House visit, reported the Washington Post on Oct. 21. It seems that Mohamed and his family felt uncomfortable and unwelcome (small wonder) in America. They don’t like living in a reactionary, racist country that espouses freedom of religion then profiles Muslims. They want their children to flourish in a place where inventors are praised, not jailed. They don’t like having to worry that their children will be branded terrorists because they practice Islam and like to fiddle with electronics.
So Ahmed Mohamed met President Obama though he didn’t bring his homemade clock for some reason. And a day later, the family decided to pull up stakes in Irving, Texas and quit this country for good. And Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) snapped at the chance to get the homemade clock kid in its Young Innovators Program. In fact the Qatar Foundation was just one of many competitors vying Ahmed Mohamed. The family chose QF for it’s continuing dedication to “empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity.”
Anthony Bond, founder of the Irving, Texas NAACP chapter, said the Ahmed Mohamed family made the decision to move not 24 hours after the boy met with President Obama. The president and many others were concerned that a school would handcuff a 9th grade Muslim boy, accuse him of building a bomb, and arrest him. The Irving Police let Ahmed go without charges, but only after they determined his “bomb” was only a digital clock.
And not after thoroughly frightening and humiliating the boy. Thousands flocked to his side with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. Hillary Clinton, Doctor Oz, Mark Zuckerberg Bill Nye the Science Guy, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and many others were horrified that such racism and Islamaphobia existed in “melting pot” America. But other countries welcomed what America lost in Ahmed Mohamed. He met Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, the Queen of Jordan and got scholarship offers from around the world.
But it’s not been easy for the homemade clock kid, even with support. As if to add insult to injury, Internet conspiracy theories surfaced that the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed was staged for attention. They were linked it to Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan’s bid for president of Sudan. Elhassan was at a high-profile Qu’ran burning in Florida, too. Some questioned why Ahmed doesn’t want to go to school in America anymore. Some even accused his clock of being a fake. And now Mohamed feels vilified and his parents, like any good parents, want to make him feel better.
About the move, Mohamed made an endearing little connection. “I loved the city of Doha [Qatar] because it’s so modern. I saw so many amazing schools there, many of them campuses of famous American universities. The teachers were great. I think I will learn a lot and have fun too.” Qatar reminds the family of Texas, but an Arab Texas.