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Muslim teen cuffed over clock mistaken for bomb speaks out

Ahmed Mohamed brought to school a homemade digital clock, a circuit board wedged inside a pencil case
Ahmed Mohamed brought to school a homemade di... 02:16

A 14-year-old Muslim boy who became a sensation on social media after word spread that he had been placed in handcuffs and suspended for coming to school with a homemade clock that teachers thought resembled a bomb says his suspension from school still stands.

Ahmed Mohamed appeared at a news conference Wednesday alongside his attorney, a representative for the Muslim community and his family members.

"I guess everyone knows, I'm the person who built a clock and got in a lot of trouble," he said.

"I just felt like I was a criminal. I was profiled as a terrorist."

Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager who was de... 04:54

The teen said he built the clock to impress his teacher and when he showed it to her Monday, she thought it was a threat towards her. He ended up being detained by police in the school later that day.

"It's really sad that she took the wrong impression of it," Mohamed said. He added that he is suspended from school until Thursday and that the incident has made him reconsider whether he wants to go back to school there at all.

CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassman reports Mohamed says neither the police nor the school have apologized.

Ahmed Mohamed speaks at a news conference outside his Irving, Texas home, September 16, 2015. CBS News

The teen said he eventually wants to go to college at MIT and hopes to one day be on the television show "Shark Tank."

On Wednesday, Mohamed received praise from many on social media - and an invitation - from the president of the United States.

In a tweet posted Wednesday, Obama called Mohamed's clock "cool" and asked if he wanted to bring it to the White House.

White House Press Secretary John Earnest said it's clear that some of Mohamed's teachers failed him and it should serve as a teachable moment. He said the White House has extended an invitation to Mohamed to participate in an Astronomy Night that will be hosted at the White House next month with government scientists and NASA astronauts.

Mohamed said at the news conference that he plans to follow up on the president's offer.

The social media support for the teenager poured in from other high-profile figures, too. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Mohamed's "skill and ambition" and extended an invite to the teenager.

"The future belongs to people like Ahmed," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. "Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I'd love to meet you. Keep building."

Earlier, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also offered praise for the student on Twitter:

Google extended an invitation to Mohamed to attend the company's science fair this weekend and Twitter offered him an internship.

Mohamed acknowledged his social media supporters during the news conference.

"I am pleased that they are part of the action and part of the movement," he said.

"I didn't think I was going to get supporters because I was Muslim and I didn't think anyone would care about that."

Mohamed will not be charged with possessing a hoax bomb because there's no evidence the 14-year-old meant to cause alarm Monday at MacArthur High School in the Dallas suburb of Irving, according to police Chief Larry Boyd.

Soon after the incident, #IStandWithAhmed was trending on Twitter and many people posted pictures of themselves posing with clocks in solidarity. The hashtag was tweeted more than a half-million times.

Ahmed's family said the boy - who told the Dallas Morning News that makes his own radios, repairs his own go-kart and on Sunday spent about 20 minutes before bedtime assembling a clock using a circuit board, power supply and other items - was suspended for three days after taking the clock to class. His father suggested officials reacted as they did because of the boy's name and faith.

A Muslim teenager in Texas was arrested after... 04:51

"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, told the newspaper. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."

At the news conference Wednesday, the teen's father said he is thankful to those who are supporting his son on social media. He referred to his son as a "very smart, brilliant boy" and said he homes this incident hasn't hindered him.

Police Chief Larry Boyd said Wednesday that the clock Ahmed built looked "suspicious in nature." He denied the teen had been profiled because he was Muslim.

"We live in an age where you can't take things like that to school. Of course we've seen across our country horrific things happen. We have to err on the side of caution, the reaction would've been the same regardless," Boyd said.

Authorities released an image of the device:

School district spokeswoman Lesley Weaver on Wednesday declined to confirm Ahmed's suspension, citing privacy laws, but said officials were concerned with student safety and not the boy's faith.

"We were doing everything with an abundance of caution," Weaver said.

In a statement, the school district said "the information that has been made public to this point is very unbalanced."

"We would provide additional factual information about the situation; however, we feel it's important to protect the student's right to privacy... If the family grants us written permission to release information, we will be happy to provide additional facts to the media at that time," the statement says.

On Monday, Ahmed showed the clock to his engineering teacher and then another teacher after the clock, which was in his backpack, beeped during class. The second teacher told him that it looked like a bomb, the newspaper reported.

A Muslim teen was arrested in Texas after bri... 01:07

Ahmed was later pulled from class and brought before the principal and Irving police officers for questioning, then handcuffed as he was led out of the school.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is reviewing the matter.

"This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving's government entities are operating in the current climate," said Alia Salem, executive director of the council's North Texas chapter.

Mohamed was wearing a NASA t-shirt when he was arrested and one NASA scientist tweeted an invitation for the teen to come visit his lab, while another tweeted an invitation to test drive the Mars Rover.

Mohamed sent a tweet on Wednesday thanking his supporters:

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