Texas freshman Ahmed Mohamed’s engineering project should have met with high marks and encouragement from his high school’s authorities, but instead the 14-year-old Muslim’s creation, a carefully wired clock housed in a pencil case, landed him in handcuffs earlier this week.

But once news broke of Mohamed’s detainment and three-day suspension, sparked by his attempt to show his homemade clock to teachers at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, on Monday, the teen’s encounter with prejudice inspired a Twitter campaign, #IStandWithAhmed.

Mohamed’s predicament also caught President Obama’s attention, and on Wednesday, the president sent a formal invitation to the budding inventor via Twitter:

As USA Today reported Wednesday, Obama wasn’t the only high-profile figure to bolster Mohamed’s cause:

The incident created a storm on social media, with #IStandWithAhmed trending on Twitter. Hillary Clinton tweeted support, and technology and engineering giants also chimed in.

“Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest,” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page. “The future belongs to people like Ahmed. Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.”

NASA geologist Fred Calef tweeted: “Anytime you wanna see Mars rovers Ahmed, let me know. #IStandWithAhmed”

The travel website CheapAir.com said it was offering Ahmed a free flight to visit the “NASA center of his choice.”

The White House has invited Ahmed to Astronomy Night at the White House next month, an event that connects students with government scientists and NASA astronauts.

Hopefully this outpouring of goodwill can do something to counter MacArthur High School’s badly bungled handling of the situation.

Watch Mohamed talk about his invention and ordeal in this video posted Tuesday by The Dallas Morning News (via YouTube):

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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