A US high school student from Texas has been arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school that police officers said resembled a “hoax bomb”.
Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old ninth grader at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, said the clock caught the attention of one of his teachers who reported it to the school’s principal on Monday.
“An officer and the principal came and took me to a room filled with five [police] officers,” Mohamed told local station Dallas News in a video interview from his electronics workshop at his home.
Mohamed said police officers asked him if he intended to make a bomb, but he repeatedly asserted that he had only ever tried to make a clock.
Mohamed said officers claimed it was a “hoax bomb”, while school Principal Daniel Cumming reportedly told Mohamed that he would be expelled unless he gave a written statement.
“They interrogated me and searched through my stuff … later I was taken to a juvenile detention centre.”
A photo of Mohamed in detention recently surfaced on Twitter.
At the centre, police searched Mohamed again, took a mugshot, and took his fingerprints before releasing him.
The incident has renewed the issue of anti-Islamic discrimination in the city, whose mayor, Beth Van Duyne, received attention earlier in the summer for anti-Islamic rhetoric.
His father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, a Sudanese immigrant, said that he believed the arrest was racially motivated.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind, but because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11, I think my son got mistreated,” the father said.
Police spokesman James McLellan confirmed that Mohamed had never claimed to have made a hoax bomb.
“He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.” Al Jazeera