The Irving teenager who was briefly arrested last year after bringing a home-made digital clock to school returned to North Texas Monday night.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was arrested last fall after a teacher thought the clock was a bomb. Despite the arrest, Mohamed said he hasn't lost his passion for science and technology. He has a new nickname too.
"I’ve been called clock boy around the world,” Mohamed said.
Mohamed is back at his Irving home while on summer break. He left to go to school in Qatar shortly after the arrest. A self-proclaimed inventor, he made a digital clock from scratch with spare parts and scraps of electronics. When he brought it to Irving’s MacArthur High School, some were impressed, but others feared it could be a bomb.
Irving Police handcuffed and arrested Mohamed, but later dropped the charges.
“What I learned from my arrest is that the world isn't such a happy place as I’ve seen before,” Mohamed said. “I used to see the world as an amazing place. And after my arrest, after what the cops did. I was scared."
Ensuing protests, including one outside the Irving mosque where the family prays, increased Mohamed’s parents’ concern about his safety.
“There was these people protesting at my mosque and people protesting with guns, like threatening to kill Muslims,” Mohamed said. “It is very terrifying."
Mohamed looks to the future, with an interest in space sciences and technology. He said his goal is to help people around the world. The celebrity and notoriety that came from the crude digital clock even earned Mohamed a visit to the White House. He said none of the fame has changed his dreams.
“I think sometimes being a celebrity or being someone well known, it gives you a chance to change the world,” Mohamed said. "You always have to think positive in life."
Mohamed plans to finish high school in Qatar and then get a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The family said they have not yet decided to file suit against Irving ISD or the police department's handling of the situation. Attorneys for the family have issued demand letters.