Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress, began carrying a clock around Capitol Hill on Wednesday to show support for the ninth-grader whose homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb earlier this week.
Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim boy, was arrested and taken to juvenile detention on Monday after showing the clock he’d built at home to a teacher in his Irving, Texas, school. The teacher said the device looked like a bomb, and later in the day, Ahmed was threatened with expulsion before being arrested.
“Discriminatory profiling doesn’t have a place in our country. Ahmed is working hard and being creative. It’s a shame that a boy is faced with such injustice in America,” Ellison said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “I’m proud to stand with him and carry a clock around with me today.”
In a clear expression of support for Ahmed, Ellison placed a clock on top of a podium while he spoke about climate change at a Congressional Black Caucus conference. The clock traveled everywhere with Ellison, including onto the House floor during an evening vote, his staff said.
Irving police on Wednesday said the case against Ahmed would be dismissed because there was no criminal intent. The arrest, however, immediately raised obvious questions of profiling and whether Ahmed was treated differently because he's Muslim.
A photo showing the teen wearing a NASA T-shirt while his hands are cuffed behind his back and a stern-faced officer is standing in the background led many to rally around the high school freshman.
Ellison, a congressman since 2007, has spoken about the anti-Islamic sentiment he's encountered in politics and his personal life. He took up Ahmed's cause with a tweet that included the hashtag #StandWithAhmed.
Among the numerous displays of public support for the teen was an invitation from President Barack Obama to bring his "cool clock" to the White House.