More than a month since Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for a homemade clock that was mistaken for a bomb, his family said Tuesday that the 14-year-old will soon leave for Qatar to resume his studies.
“After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization’s on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday.
The announcement came a day after the Texas student took up President Barack Obama’s personal invitation to visit the White House as part of “Astronomy Night.” The decision also followed weeks of Ahmed’s family considering different options for a new school, including a mini-tour to the Middle East earlier in October that brought Ahmed to the Qatar Foundation’s Education City campus in Doha, the country’s capital.
Anthony Bond, a family friend and founder of the NAACP chapter of Irving, Texas, told The Washington Post that a full scholarship awaits Ahmed at the Qatar Foundation when he, his parents and two sisters move next week. He added that the move was partly motivated by the online conspiracies that said Ahmed’s hoax bomb was a way to get attention.
“Everybody’s vilifying him, and he’s not a villain. He’s a 14-year-old boy,” Bond told the Post. “The whole world was concerned about this, and it’s impossible that anyone could have expected this international reaction.”
Dubbed the “clock kid,” Mohamed received a flood of support with the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag on Twitter that brought him national attention after his school thought his creation — a digital clock — was a hoax bomb. Although police didn’t ultimately charge Ahmed, he was suspended for three days.
Beyond Obama, supporters ranging from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, reached out to Ahmed.
Before Monday’s “Astronomy Night” at the White House, Ahmed told the Associated Press what lesson could be learned from his experience: “Don’t judge a person by the way they look. Always judge them by their heart.”