The Cable

Teenager Arrested for Making a Clock Now Being Trolled for Visiting the White House

Sen. Ted Cruz and Twitter trolls aren't happy about Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, visiting the White House.

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Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager arrested in September when a teacher at his Texas high school mistook a homemade clock for a bomb, is set to visit the White House Monday evening to participate in the second White House Astronomy Night. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and an array of trolls on Twitter aren’t happy about it.

Mohamed was invited to the White House on Sept. 16 in a tweet from President Barack Obama. He’s also visited Google’s California headquarters and met with Queen Rania of Jordan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Those meetings passed largely unnoticed, but his October visit with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court, has proven controversial and opened the 14-year-old to criticism as he prepares to meet scientists from NASA, engineers, fellow students, and teachers. The meeting took place in a presidential compound in Khartoum, and was attended by Mohamed’s father, Mohamed Hassan al-Sufi, a former presidential candidate who ran against Bashir. Mohamed’s parents immigrated to the United States from Sudan in the 1980s.

Cruz used Mohamed to make a political argument against Obama. At a Sunday event in Plano, Texas, Cruz said the president used the student to “divide” the United States.

“President Obama, at every stage, tries to politicize what happens, whether it is this teenager here in Texas, whether it is the shootings we saw in the Pacific Northwest,” Cruz said according to the Dallas Morning News, referring to the recent shooting at an Oregon community college that left ten dead, including the shooter, Chris Harper Mercer. “Over and over again, sadly, he seeks to try to divide us, to try to tear us apart. The president really ought to be looking for ways to bring us together, to unify us.”

In an interview with Yahoo! Politics, Mohamed declined to respond to Cruz’s statement.

“I’m really not into politics,” he said. “I’m into science.”

Twitter users were far more impolitic than Cruz. As tweets of support for Mohamed surged Monday, some users said he should not be invited to the White House at all, and accused the whole arrest of being a sham. Some of the language contained in the tweets below might be considered NSFW.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president didn’t plan to personally meet with Mohamed. Even if they did, the president wouldn’t have the chance to see what had made Mohamed famous in the first place: according to Mohamed, the clock is at home.  

Photo credit: Ben Torres/Getty Images

Correction, October 19, 2015: Ahmed Mohamed is visiting the White House on Monday, Oct. 19. A previous version of this article mistakenly said that he would be visiting the White House on Monday, Oct. 26.

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