After receiving widespread attention for being detained by police for building a homemade electronic clock that was mistaken for a bomb, Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed was invited to The White House on Monday night (Oct. 19) to rub elbows with the President, astronauts, scientists and students.
The 14-year-old visited the nation’s capital on Astronomy Night, which The Guardian describes as “an annual event honouring science, space exploration and youthful endeavour.” Mohamed, who sat in the third row of the event, was able to shake President Obama’s hand and got a cute photo hugging him, which was later posted on the teen’s Instagram. However, he left his now famous clock at home.
“We have to watch for and cultivate and encourage those glimmers of curiosity and possibility, not suppress them, not squelch them,” Obama said during the event. “Not only are the young people’s futures at stake, but our own is at stake.” He and the FLOTUS Michelle Obama are known encouraging young Americans to follow their dreams and pursue an education.
Mohamed was invited to The White House through the commander-in-chief’s Twitter page during the clock controversy, which gained national coverage after allegations that the teachers and school authorities at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas racially profiled the Muslim student. In September, he was arrested after it was believed he had built a homemade bomb as a science project, but not charged when it was discovered it was just a clock. A trending hashtag, #IStandWithAhmed, spread like wildfire during the height of the news.
“I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her,” Mohamed said when the news began to gain traction. “It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it.”
He and his two siblings have left the Irving Independent School District and are currently being homeschooled until they find other schools. Mohamed hopes to one day attend MIT and become an engineer.