(IRVING, Texas) — Amneh Jafari, a 23-year-old college student, said she had no idea the impact she would have on Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Muslim student who was arrested after the clock he made as a science project was mistaken for a bomb.
Ahmed, a freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was put in handcuffs Monday when his homemade digital clock was mistaken for a bomb by school officials. After a police investigation, Ahmed was released and no charges were brought against him.
But after seeing the story on local news, Jafari, also Muslim, told ABC News Thursday she felt the need to show solidarity with Ahmed, who she believes was discriminated against, though the Irving Police Department’s chief said on Wednesday that if the student in the situation had been white, officials’ “reaction would have been the same either way.”
Jafari wrote the following tweet below, being the first to start the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed.
The hashtag took off on social media, and has been tweeted over 600,000 times as of this afternoon, according to Twitter analytic service Topsy.
“I never expected it to be like this, to get this big,” said Jafari, a psychology student at the University of Texas in Arlington. “When Obama and Mark Zuckerberg put out the statement giving him these amazing opportunities, I didn’t know if this was real or a dream.”
The 23-year-old explained that the hashtag was not just for Ahmed but for “people of all colors, of all races, the youth and the other people that are discriminated.”
“They are not alone,” Jafari said. “We can go through it together and fight hatred and spread love and peace.”
Though she hasn’t met Ahmed in person yet, Jafari said she got to speak with him over the phone.
“He thanked me for starting the movement and I kept thanking him, telling him that he inspires me,” she said. “Even though I started the hashtag, he’s inspired me in so many ways. I just hope he sees the positivity in this, how bright his future is and the amazing changes he’s made in this world.”
Ahmed has been offered invitations and career opportunities from dozens of high-profile leaders and celebrities, including an invite to the White House during its “Astronomy Night,” an invite to discuss a Twitter and Reddit internship, and an invite to a special tour of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Ahmed’s dream school.
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