Ahmed the ‘Clock Kid’ and his family demand $15 million from city of Irving …

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Clock-making teen threatens Texas town, district with suit.

CHICAGO: The Muslim teenager arrested when a teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb threatened to sue his school and the town of Irving, Texas for US$15 million (RM63.9 million), his lawyer said Monday. Ahmed Mohamed, 14, 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. 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. Law firm Laney and Bollinger sent a letter Monday to the city of Irving and Irving Independent School District saying they allegedly defamed Mohamed when speaking with the media, and violated his rights by interrogating him without his parents.

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. For instance, the mayor of the town continued to call Ahmed’s clock a “hoax bomb” after police cleared it, the letters said, and referred to his pencil case as a “briefcase.” After the incident, Ahmed’s likeness was used in offensive Halloween costumes and images, the letters said. 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. His lawyers insist that the school, police force and city officials violated Mohamed’s rights by wrongfully accusing and detaining him and then decided to “trash” him when the media got wind of the story.

The letters are just the latest in the saga of the teenager, who moved to Doha, Qatar, reportedly fearing for his safety after his scientific aspirations were met with arrest at school, inspiring the #IStandwithAhmed hashtag. The boy’s family said in October that they would be moving to Qatar and he had accepted an offer from the Qatar Foundation to study at its Young Innovators Program. Ahmed won support from Obama and other major US figures, including Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who said “having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest”.

The letter noted that Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne called the clock a “hoax bomb” during an appearance on the Glenn Beck television show and nodded as Beck and his other guest called the story “an influence operation” in furtherance of a coming “civilization jihad.” “Not only was this dangerous ‘baiting’ that destroyed any chance the Mohamed family ever had of being truly safe and secure in the United States, but it was also defamatory,” his lawyers wrote. The Sudanese leader is accused by the International Criminal Court of masterminding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during Sudan’s Darfur conflict.

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