If there's one silver lining to the rage-inducing story of the teenager in Texas arrested for building a clock, it's the mass show of support from scientists, technologists, celebrities, and hundreds of thousands of people online.
Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed is a kid who loves to tinker, and was excited to show teachers at his Irving, Texas High school his latest invention: a clock with "a digital display, built into a metal case with a circuit board." For this offence he was handcuffed and arrested, while bullying cops persisted in pointing out that the contraption "looks like a movie bomb to me."
— Farhan Khan Virk (@FarhanKVirk) September 16, 2015
The mad leap to criminalise Ahmed's clock has drawn attention to the U.S.' knee-jerk Islamophobia and led to thousands of Twitter users sharing stories of their own actually dangerous science experiments that they were not criminalized for carrying out. Users have also contrasted images of kids with guns against the picture of Ahmed, scared and handcuffed in his NASA t-shirt.
— Nadia (@LOMBARDIGNITY) September 16, 2015
At least the injustice of Ahmed's case is not going unnoticed, and he is receiving support from those who appreciate scientific curiosity and human decency. NASA scientists have invited him to visit their labs and told him to get in touch in the future.
NASA's Mars Rover Lead Flight Director Mike Seibert:
— Mike Seibert (@mikeseibert) September 16, 2015
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory visualisation producer Doug Ellison:
— Doug Ellison (@doug_ellison) September 16, 2015
NASA's famed "Mohawk guy" Bobak Ferdowsi:
Hey Ahmed, give me a call in a couple years. We could always use smart, curious & creative people. https://t.co/02a4feMrk5
— Bobak Ferdowsi (@tweetsoutloud) September 16, 2015
Ahmed is likely going to be receiving a lot of exciting opportunities in the wake of this nonsensical situation:
#IStandWithAhmed And we'd love to offer him an internship here next Summer! Build w us!
— DoSomething.org (@dosomething) September 16, 2015
Makerbase cofounder Anil Dash has been in touch with Ahmed and his family and is helping to raise awareness:
Good morning, all. Great to see an outpouring of support. You can tell Ahmed & family how you'd like to help, here: http://t.co/IHOTsPSCEN
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
Big names got in on the encouragement:
#IStandWithAhmed — stay strong little brother. you are a genius and we all support your incredible passion for innovation + technology.
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) September 16, 2015
Meanwhile, people are posing with clocks to show support for Ahmed:
— CAIR-Chicago (@cairchicago) September 16, 2015
While others are pointing our the huge gulfs in America's persecution logic:
— Brienne of Snarth (@femme_esq) September 16, 2015
What was done to Ahmed has real repercussions:
"I felt less than human." "I felt like a criminal." Yup, that's what a 14 year old innovator was made to feel.
Not to mention:
— Nash (@Nash076) September 16, 2015
This boggles the mind:
— Hanif J. Williams (@HanifJWilliams) September 16, 2015
I hope going forward that Ahmed will have teachers like this:
#IStandWithAhmed because I'm a physicist at MIT, and he's the kind of student we dream of having!
— Chanda (王嬋娟) (@IBJIYONGI) September 16, 2015
In response to the media firestorm and Twitter surge (#IStandWithAhmed is currently the number one trend worldwide), Ahmed has created a Twitter account of his own:
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) September 16, 2015
We predict a bright future for Ahmed Mohamed -- and we hope the attention this case is receiving means a soul-searching about what it means to be young and inventive in America, which was treated as a dangerous inclination. The image of Ahmed handcuffed in his NASA shirt should be a wakeup call to all of us.