TEXAS — A federal lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teen who was detained and hauled off in handcuffs last year because authorities thought a handmade clock he brought to his Texas high school to show his teachers was a bomb.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassen Mohamed, maintains that Ahmed’s civil rights were violated by the Irving Independent School District, MacArthur High School Principal Daniel Cummings and the city of Irving, near Dallas.
The suit said Ahmed’s rights were “violated in contravention of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments” of the U.S. Constitution. It cites “a clear pattern of discrimination based upon race as well as discrimination based upon religion” in the school district.
The suit also says the state of Texas, including the school district, “has a history of discrimination against Muslims in Texas curriculum and schools.”
The incident took place in September. One of Ahmed’s teachers thought the clock was a bomb and contacted school authorities, who then called police. The boy, then 14, was detained, questioned and taken away in handcuffs. He was later released to his parents and not charged, although his school suspended him for three days.
At the time, the school said it reacted with caution because the contraption had wires and could have been an explosive device. It turned out the device wasn’t a bomb and it spurred national and international outrage toward the school.
The anger, including accusations that authorities were biased against Muslims, was fueled in part by social media. #IStandWithAhmed became a trending topic on Twitter. President Barack Obama invited the teen to attend an event at the White House and a foundation offered him a scholarship to study in Qatar. News outlets nicknamed him “Clock Boy.”
Ahmed and his parents moved to Qatar last fall after he accepted a scholarship there, but the family returned to Texas in June.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division, seeks judgment for damages. The lawsuit does not specify an amount.
The school district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In November, an attorney said the family said they would file a civil lawsuit if they didn’t get $15 million and apologies from the city’s mayor and police chief.