Kid's clock cool, Obama says

2015-09-16 21:46
Ahmed Mohamed's home made clock. (AP)

Ahmed Mohamed's home made clock. (AP)

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Washington - US President Barack Obama on Wednesday showed support for a 14-year-old Texas high school student who was arrested for bringing a home made clock to school.

"Cool clock, Ahmed," Obama said on Twitter. "Want to bring it to the White House?"

The president said more kids like Ahmed Mohamed, who has been described as an avid inventor, should be inspired to take science courses.

"It's what makes America great," Obama added in a jab at the slogan being used by leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Ahmed's story, broadcast across the internet, began when he wanted to show his clock to his engineering teacher at high school in Irving, a Dallas suburb, on Monday.

But the device alarmed officials, who believed it was a bomb. The device was confiscated by a teacher and Ahmed was summoned to a school office to explain. He was then suspended from school, walked out in handcuffs and taken to a juvenile detention centre and fingerprinted, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Officials said on Wednesday no charges would be filed against Ahmed. They said they had following standard procedure. Ahmed missed three days of school and said he swore he would never again bring an invention to school.

Police Chief Larry Boyd said the device was "certainly suspicious in nature". The teacher who first looked at it "was concerned that it was possibly the infrastructure for a bomb", Boyd said at a news conference.

Like many schools in the United States, the high school in Irving has increased security in the wake of mass shootings in recent years, nearly all committed by young white males.

Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook also encouraged Ahmed to keep building. "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."

Boyd described the relationship between his department and the Muslim community as "outstanding". He said he planned to meet with Ahmed's father.

Outside Ahmed's home dozens of reporters and cameramen took up position, and his older teenaged sisters created a Twitter account on behalf of their brother - @istandwithahmed. By Wednesday afternoon it had 28 000 followers.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton also jumped into the fray.

"Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe - they hold us back," she said on Twitter. "Ahmed, stay curious and keep building."

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