Prayer vigil to end Islamophobia held in Irving

- People rallied Thursday night in support of a Muslim high school student who was suspended for bringing a homemade clock to class.

The #IStandWithAhmed rally, labeled as a prayer vigil against Islamophobia, was held in front of MacArthur High School in Irving.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was arrested at the school Monday. A teacher thought his homemade clock looked like a bomb.

Police said they acted out of an abundance of caution and argue Mohamed was not racially profiled. But, supporters disagree.

“We are committed to ensuring that Ahmed’s interests are protected and that he gets to study in an environment that rewards creativity and intelligence regardless of the color of his skin or where he worships,” said Linda Moreno, the family’s attorney.

The teen will not be charged, but remains suspended from school.

He has received support from the White House and people across the nation and is now planning to transfer.

“The events of the last couple of days, to me, bring to light what the murmuring that's been going on for a long time in this city; that this is a racist and xenophobic city in a lot of ways,” said Jeff Hood with Hope for Peace and Justice at Thursday’s vigil.

But at the same time, at Irving City Hall, Police Chief Larry Boyd went before council members with an explanation of why the teen's arrest had nothing to do with Islamophobia.

Boyd reiterated the support he's received from Irving's Islamic community.

"They were enthusiastic and supported,” said Boyd. “The idea that we will learn from and build off of this and continue this strong relationship.”  

Citizens addressed the council about the arrest. Some were critical of the response, and others said officers and school officials did what they needed to do.

"I think they made a wise decision for the benefit and for the safety of all the other citizens, and I think that they were intelligent in taking a chance with this one student to protect the rest of the students at MacArthur High School,” said Irving citizen Bruce Burns.

Chief Boyd also told council members that he has asked the teen's father more than once for a meeting to discuss the matter.

He says the father, who has appeared on numerous national media programs talking about what happened, has yet to respond to the meeting request.

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