Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Texas high schooler, was arrested and cuffed earlier this week after the homemade clock he showed to his science teacher was mistaken for a bomb. Though Mohamed’s teachers may not have been impressed with his latest invention, other people certainly were: On Wednesday, President Obama fired out a tweet lauding Mohamed’s clock and asking him to bring it over to the White House.
Mohamed’s arrest and three-day suspension from school have been denounced as indicative of anti-Muslim sentiment and a basic unawareness of what a clock actually looks like. The incident also has, however, inspired important figures like Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to rush to his defense:
In a Facebook status post, Zuckerberg similarly extended Mohamed an invitation to visit Facebook’s headquarters and meet him:
You’ve probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he took it to school.
Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.
Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.
Mohamed, who belongs to his school’s Robotics Club, was pulled out of class on Monday, interrogated, and then handcuffed–all while wearing a NASA T-shirt. His father is a Sudanese politician who ran for the country’s presidency, and heads a solar energy company.
Obama has focused heavily on nurturing advances in the technology industry: In July, he issued an order for the U.S. to build the world’s fastest supercomputer by 2025, and just last month, the White House sanctioned the launch of a new wearables R&D center in Silicon Valley. In a cover story earlier this year, Fast Company detailed how Obama has steadily hired tech talent from the Valley, in an effort to “remake the digital systems by which government operates… [and] implement the kind of efficiency and agility and effectiveness that define Silicon Valley’s biggest successes.”