On September 16, 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school because, according to his school principal, the device looked like a bomb. As of Friday, December 4, the Department of Justice has begun investigating whether the teenager’s civil rights were violated.

When police arrived at Mohamed’s school in Irving, Texas, they quickly ascertained that Mohamed had not brought an explosive to school. However, he was nonetheless arrested for what they referred to as a “hoax bomb.” Mohamed, wearing a grey NASA tee-shirt, was led away in handcuffs.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch refers to this incident as an “‘extreme case’ of rising anti-Muslim feelings in the country.” AL.com notes that Lynch issued these remarks “a day after a Muslim couple killed 14 people during a shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California.”

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According to the Huffington Post, “the federal investigation in Ahmed’s case centers on whether the Irving School District harassed and disciplined students based on their race, religion, and national origin.” In the meantime, Ahmed’s family has sued the Irving Independent School District and the City of Irving for $15 million. They also demand an apology from Police Chief Larry Boyd for Mohamed’s “wrongful arrest.”

Mohamed now attends school in Doha, Qatar, where he moved with his family after being offered a full scholarship by the Qatar Foundation.


Contact the author at rachel.vorona.cote@jezebel.com.

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Image via Getty.