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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Ahmed Mohammed encourages everyone to follow their dreams: ‘Go for it!’

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, the Muslim student arrested earlier today after police mistook a clock he had brought into school as a bomb has spoken out to thank those who supported him over social media

The Muslim teenager who was arrested today after bringing a clock he made into school has told of how he doesn't regret what he did, and has encouraged other students to show off their talents too.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, told other talented youngsters to 'go for it' when expressing their abilities, 'even if there's a consequence to it'.

Asked what message he has for other talented youngsters who are thinking of showing off their abilities, he said: 'Go for it. Don't let people change who you are'

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, he said: 'Don't let people change who you are, even if you get a consequence [sic] for it.

Ahmed Mohamed (second from left) and Alia Salem (right), Executive Director of CAIR-Texas Dallas Fort Worth

'I suggest you still show it to people because they need to see your talent.'

Despite the backlash against Ahmed's arrest, Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne today defended the school and police, saying she couldn't fault either of them.

Ahmed became an online sensation today when pictures began circulating of him being handcuffed at his school in Texas on Monday, before he was taken to a police station and questioned by officers after bringing a homemade clock into class.
Despite the device being part of a homework assignment for an engineering class at MacArthur High School in Irving, Ahmed said officers mistook it for a bomb.
According to the schoolboy he was taken to a juvenile detention center, fingerprinted, had his mugshot taken, and was questioned by police before his parents arrived and took him away.

While the school was initially reported to be considering charging him with a bomb hoax, Ahmed revealed this afternoon that all charges have now been dropped.
Speaking to CBS, he said: 'So I guess everyone knows I'm the person who built a clock and got in trouble for it.
'I built a clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. I was really sad she got the wrong impression of it and I got arrested for it.'

Following his arrest he became the top trending topic on Twitter, with the hashtag 'IstandwithAhmed' being used hundreds of times each second around the world.
Addressing his supporters, he said: 'Thank you to all my supporters on Twitter, Facebook, and social media.
'I would never have got this far if it wasn't for you guys. Not just you guys, but everybody.'

He also revealed that he is still suspended from school until Thursday, and that police still have his clock as evidence.
However, he added that he may never return to MacArthur as he is looking into transferring to 'any other school'.

Asked about his arrest and whether police spoke to him without a lawyer present, Ahmed appeared to confirm it, but was quickly hushed by his legal team, who said they would respond to those allegations at a later date.

Earlier today, Ahmed told the Dallas Morning News that he built the clock on Sunday in his bedroom in about 20 minutes, using a circuit board, a digital display and several wires.

He enclosed the device into a pencil case with a tiger hologram on the front.

Ahmed said he first showed his invention to his engineering teacher, who gave him some advice.
'He was like, "That's really nice. I would advise you not to show that to other teachers.''
He kept the clock in his bag, but it started to beep later in the day during an English class. He then showed his clock to the teacher who said it looked like a bomb.

He said he did not lock the box as he 'did not want it to look suspicious'. Instead he secured it with a cable.

Ahmed said the principal claimed his clock looked like a 'movie bomb'. He was then pictured being led away from the school in handcuffs while wearing a NASA t-shirt.
Speaking after his release, Ahmed said: 'It made me feel like a I wasn't a human. It made me feel like I was a criminal.'

Police spokesman James McLellan said: 'We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb. He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.

'It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?'

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