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IRVING, Texas – A Muslim teenager detained by police after a teacher at his North Texas high school decided that a homemade clock he proudly brought to class looked like a bomb will not face criminal charges, a police chief said Wednesday.
Ahmed Mohamed will not be charged with possessing a hoax bomb because there's no evidence the 14-year-old meant to cause alarm Monday at MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving, according to police Chief Larry Boyd.
Ahmed's family said the boy — who told the Dallas Morning News that makes his own radios, repairs his own go-kart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling a clock using a circuit board, power supply and other items — was suspended for three days after taking the clock to class. His father suggested officials reacted as they did because of the boy's name and faith.
"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the newspaper. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."
Boyd said Wednesday that the clock Ahmed built looked "suspicious in nature."
School district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver on Wednesday declined to confirm Ahmed's suspension, citing privacy laws, but said officials were concerned with student safety and not the boy's faith.
"We were doing everything with an abundance of caution," Weaver said.
On Monday, Ahmed showed the clock to his engineering teacher and then another teacher after the clock, which was in his backpack, beeped during class. The second teacher told him that it looked like a bomb, the newspaper reported.
Ahmed was later pulled from class and brought before the principal and Irving police officers for questioning, then handcuffed as he was led out of the school.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reviewing the matter.
"This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving's government entities are operating in the current climate," said Alia Salem, executive director of the council's North Texas chapter.