Thursday 22 August 2019

Muslim boy arrested over clock seeks $15m payout

Ahmed Mohamed
Ahmed Mohamed

Rachael Alexander in Washington

Lawyers representing a 14-year-old Muslim boy arrested after taking a home- made clock to his Texas school say he was publicly mistreated and deserves $15m compensation.

The firm championing the case of Ahmed Mohamed sent letters demanding $10m from the city of Irving and $5m from the Irving Independent School District.

The firm said it would file a civil suit if it did not receive a reply within 60 days.

The teenager became an overnight sensation in September after his sister tweeted a photo of the aspiring inventor standing in handcuffs while wearing a T-shirt with the US space agency Nasa's logo.

US president Barack Obama joined a surge of public support by congratulating the teen on his skills and inviting him to bring the clock to the White House in what was seen as a pointed rebuke to school and police officials amid accusations of Islamophobia.

Invitations poured in from Facebook, Google, the United Nations, and Ahmed later tweeted photos of visits to Mecca, New York, Sudan and Qatar.

But his lawyer insists there was a dark side to his fame, which caused "severe psychological trauma", according to a letter notifying the city and school district of his demands.

The son of Sudanese immigrants who lived in a Dallas suburb, the young robotics fan brought in a homemade clock to impress a new teacher at MacArthur High School.

Instead, Ahmed was accused of trying to scare people with a hoax bomb and escorted from the school in handcuffs.

His lawyers insist that the school, police force and city officials violated Ahmed's rights by wrongfully accusing and detaining him and then decided to "trash" him when the media got wind of the story.

"Ahmed clearly was singled out because of his race, national origin and religion," wrote his attorney, Kelly Hollingsworth.

The family received threatening emails and left their home after their address was publicised.

They eventually moved to Qatar after Ahmed was offered a generous scholarship.

Irish Independent

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