As It Happens

'We really need to fix this kind of mentality,' says Ahmed Mohamed's uncle

Texas teenager, Ahmed Mohamed was arrested at his high school on Monday after he brought a homemade clock to school. His uncle, Aldean Mohamed, says that his nephew was unjustly targeted because of his name.
Irving MacArthur High School student Ahmed Mohamed, 14, poses for a photo at his home in Irving, Texas on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Mohamed was arrested and interrogated by Irving Police officers on Monday after bringing a homemade clock to school. Police don't believe the device is dangerous, but say it could be mistaken for a fake explosive. He was suspended from school for three days, but he has not been charged. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News/AP)

By now you've likely seen the headline: 14-year-old boy arrested for bringing a clock to school.

On Monday, grade nine student Ahmed Mohamed brought his homemade clock to his Irving, Texas, high school. He wanted to show it to his teachers. But when he did, he was handcuffed, fingerprinted and arrested after they mistook the clock for a bomb.

Overnight the story went viral and the outpouring of support for Ahmed is still trending across social media. Earlier this morning we reached Ahmed in Irving. He was in good spirits and overwhelmed by the support.

"I am feeling really amazed at how much attention I've been getting, all the support from all my fans around the world," Ahmed tells As It Happens host Carol Off.
He says the police were aggressive and at the time "forced me to say a word I didn't want to say. Like, 'just say it's a bomb, c'mon.'"

Unfortunately our interview with Ahmed was cut short. But, we were able to reach his uncle. 

Aldean Mohamed is also overwhelmed by the support but he is still searching for answers.

"Very, very sad, the kid, he just tried to impress his teacher," Aldean tells Off.

Aldean says that the mistreatment his nephew received extends beyond the school.

"The police they came in, they're supposed to talk to the principal, to call his parents to come."

Aldean explains that Ahmed was interrogated without his parents or a lawyer present.

"Nobody, nobody, they just took him to the juvenile centre and fingerprinted him and he asked where he can call his father, they told him 'No!'"

When asked about one officer who reportedly remarked 'Yup, that's who I thought it was," when he first saw Ahmed, Aldean explains, "it's kind of discrimination you know, when you say my name is Ahmed."

He adds, "we really need to fix this kind of mentality."

This photo provided by the Irving Police Department shows the homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to school, Wednesday, Sept.16, 2015, in Irving. (Irving Police/AP)

But, he feels the real failure is that no one intervened and checked the clock, especially the police.

"Look at it and check it out, you are police, anyone, even a teenager will know, or even a four or five-year-old knows the difference between a clock and a bomb."

Aldean admits that the family is still processing all the attention and that the events will be a big change for Ahmed.

"This has touched my heart...Yes, we are Muslim but we live in America for many years...What can we say? Really, we love America."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?