I expect they will have more to say tomorrow, but Ahmed's sister asked me to share this photo. A NASA shirt! pic.twitter.com/nR4gt992gB— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
Not long after his arrest and subsequent release, Ahmed received invitations from Mark Zuckerberg and President Barack Obama to visit Facebook headquarters and The White House respectively. Invitations were also extended by Twitter, Google, and Foursquare. MIT astrophysicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein even went onto proclaim that Ahmed was her “ideal student” and invited the teen to visit the campus. "You are the kind of student that we want at places like MIT and Harvard," she added.
Ahmed Mohamed's gifts from Microsoft
But perhaps the biggest — well, to us techies — reward to come out of all the hoopla surrounding Ahmed’s clock came from none other than Microsoft. The Redmond, Washington-based software giant sent Ahmed a highly valuable assortment of hardware and software including a Surface Pro 3, Cube 3D printer, Raspberry Pi, Office software, a Microsoft Band, and plenty of additional accessories.
With all the media attention surrounding Ahmed Mohamed, the detractors are now coming out of the woodwork to cast doubt on his story. At the same time, these detractors are citing bias along with a quick rush to judgment by the media with regards to the details surrounding the incident.
Some are suggesting that Zuckerberg and President Obama along with companies like Google and Microsoft have effectively been duped into thinking that the clock was a homegrown invention by Ahmed. In fact, the naysayers indicate that the contraption was no more than an off-the-shelf alarm clock that had been taken apart and tossed into a pencil box. There are several videos circulating around YouTube that make a case for idea, including the one below:
The end result looks very similar to the clock that Ahmed brought to school to impress his teachers:
It’s understandable why people would be alarmed that such a seemingly basic clock could garner such much praise, when hundreds, if not thousands of teens around the country who are putting their minds to good use with incredibly well thought-out inventions that could not only revolutionize technology and science, but also improve the lives of humankind.
Some people have even claimed that Ahmed had more nefarious ideas in mind with this clock, with former Vice President contender Sarah Palin stating, “The first reports on this potential bomb-imitator were so fishy to begin with," and Bill Maher adding, “People at the school thought it might be a bomb because it looks exactly like a f***ing bomb.”
But perhaps the most critical commentary has come from biologist Richard Dawkins, which claims that Ahmed’s story amounts to fraud:
@I_Love_Atheism Because he disassembled & reassembled a clock (which is fine) & then claimed it was his "invention" (which is fraud).— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) September 20, 2015
Update: 9/21/15 - 3:20PM: This latter post casts a completely different light on the young man, though it has been said that he never claimed to have invented or built the original clock device himself.
The question is: Did both sides, the police as well as these companies, President Obama and the media jump to conclusions too quickly before all the facts were laid out on the table? Was Ahmed worthy of his national acclaim and recognition, or his harsh treatment? We'll not try to answer those questions here but likely many will continue to ponder this seemingly over-blown situation.