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Ahmed Mohamed On His Newfound Fame: 'I Didn't Think People Would Care About A Muslim Boy'

Ahmed Mohamed
Ahmed Mohamed tweeted this photo of himself. He was wearing the same NASA shirt when he was handcuffed and taken away by Irving police officers.

“If it wasn’t because of religion it was because of race.” That’s what Irving 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed told the public radio newsmagazine "Texas Standard" today.

And tonight, the high school freshman is scheduled to appear on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Ahmed was suspended, handcuffed and taken into custody for bringing a homemade clock to school on Monday. MacArthur High School officials thought it could be a bomb, police took him away on suspicion of building a hoax bomb. Charges were dropped, but he still served out his suspension.

The 14-year-old clockmaker told host David Brown that tinkering and inventing is a hobby for him, just something he likes to do.

As for the assumption that clock he threw together from circuit boards, wires and an old pencil case and brought to school on Monday was a bomb, Ahmed blamed “discrimination and ignorance.”

The world’s reaction, he said, was a surprise. Since the story broke, he’s had an invitation to the White House, words of encouragement from NASA engineers and Silicon Valley luminaries. Tonight, he’ll be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

“I didn’t think people would care about a Muslim boy,” he said.

The unassuming kid says his long-term plans really remain the same: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his “dream school.” After the news of his arrest hit the internet, MIT astrophysics postdoc Chanda Prescod-Weinstein tweeted an invitation to the aspiring engineer to come and visit the prestigious science school. Not bad for a 14-year-old who likes to tinker.

You can hear Ahmed's interview with "Texas Standard," the statewide public radio news magazine, below.