The 14-year old boy who was arrested for bringing a clock to his Texas high school spoke to MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Wednesday night, and he showed more poise and optimism than anyone would expect under the circumstances.
"I felt like I was a criminal, I felt like I was a terrorist," Ahmed Mohamed told Hayes. "Like all the names I've been called." In middle school, the MacArthur High School freshman said he was called "a terrorist, a bomb maker, just because of my religion and my race."
Mohamed was arrested on Monday, when a teacher looked at a homemade clock he had brought to school and thought it looked like a bomb. Police handcuffed him and took him to juvenile detention. He was suspended from school for three days. His suspension is almost up, but Mohamed won't be going back to MacArthur; he said he'll transfer.
When Hayes asked him how he feels after the massive outpouring support that he and his family has received through social media, the teen's positive answer was heartbreaking. "I feel really well after. Before, I thought I wasn’t going to get any support because I’m a Muslim boy," he said. "I thought I was going to be another victim of injustice."
Mohamed has said that he was questioned without his parents present — a major violation of his civil rights — despite asking repeatedly to call them. The Irving police chief did not respond directly to questions about that claim at a press conference. Neither the school nor the police department has apologized publicly for treating the curious teen like a criminal and potential terrorist
Mohamed told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that he'll take President Obama up on his offer to visit the White House. The teen also got an invitation to visit Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and internship offers poured in from schools around the country.
Chris Hayes brought one more person onto his show to offer Mohamed an opportunity: Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a theoretical physicist at M.I.T. Mohamed has said he dreams of going to M.I.T. for college and Prescod-Weinstein offered to show him around campus.
"I am so happy that you’re coming out on top," Prescod-Weinstein said. "You are my ideal student. A creative, independent thinker like you is the kind of person who should become a physicist."
When Hayes asked Mohamed if he'd like to visit Cambridge and see M.I.T. and Harvard after such an awful ordeal, his face lit up in an enormous smile.
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