Time magazine names Ahmed Mohamed to 'Most Influential Teens of 2015'

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Time magazine named 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed yesterday to its list of "30 Most Influential Teens of 2015". He was made famous after being taken into custody by police when a teacher thought a clock he brought to his Texas school looked like a bomb. Mohamed joins the ranks of influential teens including US President Barack Obama's daughter Malia Obama, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Ahmed Mohamed at Ames Research Center in 2015
Image: Courtesy of the Office of Congressman Mike Honda.

Time said of Mohamed in announcing the news: "Not many people make national news by bringing a homemade clock to school. But the ninth-grader's arrest, after teachers and authorities mistook said clock for a bomb, kicked off a national debate over racial profiling".

The ninth-grader's arrest [...] kicked off a national debate over racial profiling

Time magazine

Texas student Ahmed Mohamed and NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew at the 2015 White House Astronomy Night.
Image: Harrison Jones, hjonesphotography.

Mohamed traveled to the White House last week where he met with US President Barack Obama. His family said last week that they would move from Texas to Qatar, where Mohamed was offered a full-scholarship to a well-respected school in the country.

The September 14 incident in Irving, Texas triggered a wider discussion about Islamophobia within the community. The Twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed became part of a social movement in support of the youth. After news of the police response was reported, Mohamed received support online ranging from US President Barack Obama to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Mohamed brought the digital clock he made to school on September 14, and a teacher mistakenly thought it resembled a bomb. Police arrested and questioned the student. Images of the boy wearing a NASA T-shirt and handcuffed by the police were quickly posted and reposted online.

Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?

—US President Barack Obama

The Twitter attention led to outreach from Google and Mohamed was invited to their Google Science Fair. Mohamed was a VIP guest at the Google Science Fair, and met finalists at the event held at Google's headquarters located in Mountain View, California. Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, personally met with Mohamed during his visit to Google.

US President Barack Obama tweeted using his @POTUS account: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great." Twitter gave Mohamed the option to come to their company for an internship. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg tweeted to Mohamed and said the boy was welcome to come and tour the company.

Both the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department have asserted that the boy's religion and name were not a factor in the manner in which they approached the situation.