This Day In History: September 14

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A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his high school in Irving, Texas after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb.

Ahmed Mohamed, a freshman at the time, was questioned by police, detained and led in handcuffs to a juvenile detention center and suspended from school for three days for what authorities called a “hoax bomb,” but what was actually a homemade clock.

Mohamed’s arrest set off a media storm, as many saw the incident as an example of racial profiling. Mohamed became known as the “Clock Boy,” and the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed appeared on social media.

“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Barack Obama tweeted. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” (Mohamed took him up on the offer, meeting the president in October 2015 during an astronomy night event hosted on the White House’s South Lawn.)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also chimed in, posting: “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’s family later filed a lawsuit against the Irving Independent School District, the city of Irving and McArthur High School principal Daniel Cummings for discrimination, but it was thrown out. The teen did not return to the school and the family moved to Qatar soon after the arrest.