Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old whose homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb, is moving to Qatar, the family announced on Tuesday.
“After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization’s on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity,” the Mohamed family said in a statement, which also notes Ahmed will receive a scholarship for the program.
Anthony Bond, a family friend and the founder of the Irving, Texas chapter of the NAACP where Ahmed is from, told the Washington Post that the family made the decision to leave for Qatar in the past 24 hours and will be moving next week. Ahmed has been in Washington, D.C., for the past day after being invited by President Obama for Astronomy Night, a White House initiative to encourage kids to pursue STEM subjects. He posted a photo on Instagram earlier Tuesday of a hug with President Obama and the caption “SO HAPPY, I CANT BELIEVE THAT I MET THE #president of THE #UNITEDSTATES!!!”
Ahmed’s 19-year-old sister Eyman told the Post the pressure and criticism Ahmed has received in the aftermath of his arrest have made Ahmed not want to go to school in the U.S. “It’s been really hard,” she told the paper. “Everything happens for a reason, but there’s so much stuff being said that isn’t true” — referring to conspiracy theories on the Internet that the Texas teen made the clock as a publicity stunt. “Everybody’s vilifying him, and he’s not a villain. He’s a 14-year-old boy,” Bond said.
In the statement, the family expressed gratitude for “generous offers” they received from the U.S. and other countries. Ahmed also explained his excitement to move to the Gulf nation: “Qatar was a cool place to visit. I loved the city of Doha because it’s so modern. I saw so many amazing schools there, many of them campuses of famous American universities,” the statement reads. “The teachers were great. I think I will learn a lot and have fun too.”