Ahmed Mohamed: Mecca Pilgrimage May Be Next Stop for Texas ‘Suitcase Clock’ Teen

Mecca Pilgrimage
AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter

Ahmed Mohamed may next head out on a Mecca pilgrimage, says his father of the 14-year-old Texas high school freshman who got in trouble, and made national headlines, over an elaborate homemade suitcase clock that resembled a “hoax bomb.”

The Dallas Morning News reported on the family’s possible international vacation. The boy’s father, Dallas Sufi imam Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, said they will fly to New York on Wednesday, where United Nations dignitaries want to meet his son. Then, if the appropriate visas can be obtained, Mohamed wants to take his son on a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, the younger Mohamed was the guest of honor at Google’s fifth annual science fair held at the company’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. This year’s theme? “It’s your turn to change the world.” A $50,000 Google scholarship goes to the overall winner, according to Time.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also invited the Irving freshman to corporate headquarters, praising the high school freshman on a Facebook post that read: “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed.” Zuckerberg also wrote. “Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you.”

On Monday, while the teen basked in Google’s glow, the elder Mohamed met with the Irving Independent School District superintendent, requesting to pull Ahmed from MacArthur High School. Irving ISD officials confirmed the meeting. District spokeswoman Lesley Weaver said: “For any family to complete the process of withdrawing a student from school, we require forms to be completed and items (like books or school-issued laptops) to be turned into school.” She added, “We are happy to comply with the family’s requests as quickly as possible.”

Once those formalities are completed, the district will release Ahmed Mohamed as well as the family’s other children, a younger brother and sister, who the patriarch unenrolled. The elder Mohamed told the Dallas Morning News that “Ahmed said, ‘I don’t want to go to MacArthur.”

Ahmed Mohamed served three days suspension following an arrest over the confusing looking suitcase clock that school district administrators and Irving police thought resembled a bomb. He brought it into MacArthur High School on Monday, September 14 to show to his engineering teacher, who advised him to put it away. Instead, the teen brought it to his English class where he plugged in the clock and when it started to beep in the middle of class, it startled the teacher. “She was like, it looks like a bomb,” Ahmed Mohamed told news media.

The teen’s reaction reaction to police questioning may not have helped to clear his name sooner, either. Officers described Mohamed as “passive aggressive” in his responses to their questions and did not have a “reasonable answer” to explain the situation while investigators said the student told them it was just a clock he was tinkering with as a project.

Breitbart Texas initially reported that the Student Code of Conduct, based on the 1995 Safe Schools Act and Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code, as behind the arrest, although mainstream media hijacked the procedural realities of stringent public school zero tolerance policies, claiming instead alleged Islamophobia. Since then, the Boston Globe and even, the Dallas Morning News acknowledged the role zero tolerance policies played in the Irving teen’s arrest.

The elder Mohamed said the family is still deciding where to send the children to school. The Dallas newspaper indicated that numerous schools offered to enroll Ahmed. The family is reportedly in talks with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the meantime, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed intends to give his son Ahmed a break before making that decision.

The Dallas Morning News shared that the Mohamed family may next travel on an international vacation. Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed said they will fly to New York on Wednesday, where United Nations dignitaries want to meet his son. Then, if they obtain the appropriate visas, Mohamed wants to take his son on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

“I ask Allah to bless this time. After that, we’ll see,” Mohamed said.

Upon their return, Mohamed anticipates the promised White House visit. “When we come back,” he added, “we’ll visit President Obama.”

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.


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