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White House welcomes Muslim teen falsely accused of making bomb

Mohamed hoped to impress teachers with his clock earlier this year, but was instead reported by suspicious staff who called the police
Ahmed Mohamed (C) is seen during the second White House Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House on 19 October in Washington, DC (AFP)

Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim-American teenager who was arrested and sent to juvenile detention when his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, visited the White House on Monday after a receiving a very public invite from President Barack Obama.

Ahmed, 14, joined a group of students, teachers, scientists, astronauts and celebrities - including the "Myth Busters" and Bill Nye - for White House Astronomy Night.

Ahmed had hoped to impress teachers by bringing a clock to his Texas school earlier this year, but was instead reported by suspicious staff who called the police.

Obama met and spoke briefly with Ahmed at the event.

A photo of Ahmed standing in handcuffs while wearing a t-shirt with the US space agency NASA's logo was retweeted thousands of times in a matter of hours and "#IStandWithAhmed" became the top trending hashtag on Twitter.

Mohamed did, however, impress Obama, who congratulated the teen on his skills, in what was seen as a pointed rebuke to school and police officials amid accusations of Islamophobia.

"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great," Obama tweeted.

During remarks at Monday's event, Obama did not mention Mohamed by name, but spoke about the need for teachers, parents and others to inspire young people.  

The Huffington Post reported that Mohamed and President Obama chatted briefly during the event.

"We have to watch for and cultivate, encourage, those glimmers of curiosity and possibility, not suppress them, not squelch them," he said. 

After withdrawing from his school in Texas, Mohamed’s family has kept busy attending Google Science Fair, meeting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and travelling to Mecca.

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