Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out in support of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old who was arrested in Texas for his school project.
"Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that's reproduced in full below:
You've probably seen the story about Ahmed, the 14 year old student in Texas who built a clock and was arrested when he took it to school. Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed. Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I'd love to meet you. Keep building.
Earlier this week, teachers at Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas reported Ahmed Mohamed to police for bringing a clock he built as a project to school. Ahmed was reportedly escorted out of the school in handcuffs and accused by the police of trying to build a bomb. As it turns out the clock was nothing more than a school project and the police later dropped all charges against Ahmed.
The school and police have so far not apologised for their actions and the school even sent a letter to all parents, which, for all practical purposes, amounts to a defence of its actions, while still managing to exclude any mention of the incident.
"[...] remind your child how important it is to immediately report any suspicious items and/or suspicious behaviour they observe to any school employee so we can address it right away," the school reportedly wrote in a letter sent to all parents.
Later on Wednesday, Ahmed held a press conference where he recounted the incident and thanked Mark Zuckerberg and US President Barack Obama for his support. Ahmed also mentioned he will be transferring schools after visiting the White House on Obama's invitation.
Ahmed encouraged young people to continue doing what they love. "Don't let people change who you are," he said. "Even if you get consequences for it."