VIDEO: Alysia Burdi takes a look at social media’s reaction. Watch here.
Two signs raising awareness for the alleged racial profiling of a teen from Texas appeared on the statue of Egerton Ryerson on Gould Street Wednesday evening.
Ahmed Mohamed a 14-year-old student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, was taken into custody after school officials mistook a digital clock he had built for a bomb and alerted police. The teen was later released, but his clock was withheld.
Both of the signs bear the emblem of the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association. One, placed on the right foot of the statue, depicts a clock and features drawings of scientific symbols and a beaker — a testament to the teen’s interest in science. Another, placed under the statue, simply includes the hashtag #IstandwithAhmed.
Ahmed has become a symbol for the suspicion that many Muslims say they confront in their daily lives due to fears of terrorism. The high schooler has since been invited to the White House to show the clock he built to President Barack Obama.
“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Obama tweeted. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
The Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association posted a tweet after affixing the signs, at roughly 8PM Wednesday.
— RyersonMSA (@RyersonMSA) September 17, 2015
Radwan Al-Nachawati, president of the RMSA, told The Ryersonian that his group put together the installation to bring the conversation about stereotyping to Ryerson.
“The response that the Ryerson community has given really shows that there’s no room for stereotyping and that everyone deserves a right to excel, regardless of belief, background or ethnicity,” he said.
Al-Nachawati added that Ahmed’s situation, while particularly egregious, is not unique to Texas or the United States, but hits home for some Muslim students on campus.
“Some of us have experienced stereotyping or judgment based on our names,” he said.