US President Barack Obama has invited a Muslim boy to the White House after he was detained by police for taking a homemade clock to school that teachers mistook for a bomb.
Ahmed Mohamed, 14, was led away in handcuffs from Irving MacArthur High School in North Texas on Monday after bringing the device to his engineering class.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday, Mr Obama said: “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.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Ahmed had been “failed” by his school, calling the episode a “teachable moment”.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also invited Ahmed, an aspiring inventor who builds his own radios, to the social network’s California headquarters.
Ahmed is an aspiring inventor who also makes his own radios
“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest,” said Mr Zuckerberg.
“The future belongs to people like Ahmed.
“Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”
Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd told a news conference on Wednesday that Ahmed would not be charged. “We have no evidence that there was an intention to create alarm,” he told reporters.
‘It made me feel like I wasn’t human,’ Ahmed said of what must have been a highly unsettling and embarrassing incident for someone his age.
The police department earlier said three teachers at the high school had accused the teenager of a bomb hoax.
Irving Independent School District spokesperson Lesley Weaver said students and staff are encouraged to report any suspicious behaviour.
“We will take all necessary precautions to protect our students and keep our school community as safe as possible,” Ms Weaver said in a statement.
Ahmed said he demonstrated his homework project to his engineering teacher and was advised not to show it to anyone else.
When his clock rang in English class later in the day, he said the teacher confiscated it claiming it looked like a bomb.
Ahmed said he was led into a room where five police officers were waiting, one of whom remarked: “Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
He was taken to Irving police headquarters to be questioned, fingerprinted and photographed, reports the Dallas Morning News.
“It made me feel like I wasn’t human,” Ahmed told the newspaper. “It made me feel like a criminal.”
The principal reportedly threatened to expel him unless he made a written statement to police. Ahmed has been suspended.
The incident has sparked an outcry on social media, where #IStandWithAhmed was trending on Twitter.
His older sisters have set up a Twitter account for him, @IStandWithAhmed, which has more than 40,000 followers.
Alia Salem, the director of the North Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the arrest “raises a red flag”.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has joined the chorus of tweets supporting Ahmed.
“Ahmed, stay curious and keep building,” she wrote.
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne defended school officials, insisting they were simply following protocol.
She made headlines in March when she accused Muslims of plotting to bypass US courts by offering shariah-law mediation to worshippers.