White House welcomes 'clock kid'

Dr John Grunsfeld of Nasa's science mission directorate posing for a selfie with Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen who was arrested over a homemade clock, during White House Astronomy Night on Monday.
Dr John Grunsfeld of Nasa's science mission directorate posing for a selfie with Ahmed Mohamed, the Texas teen who was arrested over a homemade clock, during White House Astronomy Night on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • The Muslim teenager, who was detained when his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, visited the White House on Monday, after receiving a very public invitation from President Barack Obama.

Ahmed Mohamed, 14, joined a group of students, teachers, scientists, astronauts and celebrities for White House Astronomy Night.

Mohamed had hoped to impress teachers by bringing a clock to his Texas school earlier this year, but was instead reported by suspicious staff who called the police.

Mohamed did, however, impress Mr Obama, who congratulated the teen on his skills, in what was seen as a pointed rebuke to school and police officials amid accusations of Islamophobia.

At Monday's event, Mr Obama did not mention Mohamed by name, but spoke about the need to inspire young people. "We have to watch for and cultivate, encourage, those glimmers of curiosity and possibility, not suppress them, not squelch them," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'White House welcomes 'clock kid''. Print Edition | Subscribe