Science websites, such as Wired and Science Alert, are teaching how to make homemade clocks in protest of 14-year-old US Ahmed Mohamed's arrest Monday for engineering an electronic clock suspected to be a bomb.
Ahmed's teacher at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, suspected a digital clock he built and took to school on Monday to be harmful. He was taken by police later that day to juvenile detention on suspicion that it was a "bomb hoax".
Ahmed told US media on Wednesday outside his house in Irving, Texas, that he presented a digital clock to "impress" his teacher on Wednesday, but her reaction was not what he anticipated.
"So I guess everyone knows I’m the person who built a clock and got in a lot of trouble for it," he said.
When he showed it to his teacher, "She thought it was a threat to her, so, so, it was really sad she got the wrong impression of it, and I got arrested for it later that day."
Ahmed told CBS News after police confirmed the clock was harmless, dropped charges and released him from detention that he was shaken. “I just felt like I was a criminal, I was profiled as a terrorist”.
The Council on American Relations said actions taken by authorities were motivated by religious bigotry towards the Muslim teenager.
"I just felt like I was a criminal, I was profiled as a terrorist"
Irving School District spokesperson Lesley Weaver told a press conference that she believed the teacher’s reaction was necessary. "We were doing everything with an abundance of caution to protect all of our students in Irving."
Irving Police Department also justified its action. "Having no other information to go on, and taking into consideration the device's suspicious appearance and the safety of the students and staff at MacArthur High School, the student was taken into custody for possessing a hoax bomb," it said in a press release.
Some of the world's most famous digital powerhouses had a different view after they became aware of the incident. Facebook founder Mark Zuckberg said Ahmed’s wizardry inspired him to want to meet the tech prodigy.
"Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest. The future belongs to people like Ahmed."
Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian wrote on Twitter: "How do I get in touch with Ahmed? We (@reddit) wanna intro him to some of our friends in science (+internship?)"
The White House was similarly impressed. A White House spokesperson told reporters it was inviting Ahmed, who was wearing a NASA shirt on the day, to an upcoming astronomy night attended by NASA astronauts at its residence.
President Obama also chipped in with support for the intelligence of the young American. "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."
Follow Andrea on Twitter @andreasbooth