The arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old freshman at a high school in Irving, Texas, for bringing a homemade clock to school that administrators thought was a bomb, was a story that brought pervasive anti-Muslim sentiment under public scrutiny. Mohamed, who was cleared of the charges, was later the subject of a viral social media campaign, #IStandWithAhmed, and offered public support by President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg, who each invited the teenager to events at their offices.
The #IStandWithAhmed campaign is a rallying cry for those who have seen an increase in anti-Muslim attitudes since 9/11 and the beginning of the broader War on Terror.
Social Times reported the stats on how this trend spread over the past week:
According to data from ListenFirst Media, #IStandWithAhmed was tweeted 1.3 million times and the profile @IStandWithAhmed mentioned 118,000 times. Mentions of both the hashtag and the profile peaked around noon on September 16.
Per Pixlee, #IStandWithAhmed has reached 56.8 million people across Twitter & Instagram. On Instagram, posts with the hashtag have gained 99,000+ likes.
Talkwalker also tracked #IStandWithAhmed, finding that the largest peak of mentions on Twitter happened at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday (81,008 mentions). Through 2 p.m. ET, the hashtag received 1,500 to 2,000 mentions per minute.
And it is the image, first shared by Mohamed's sister, where he is shown wearing a NASA t-shirt while in handcuffs, that may have fueled the campaign. Mohamed, a self-professed science enthusiast, brought the homemade clock to school to impress his teachers.
Mohamed, who dreams of attending MIT one day, is likely going to switch high schools after this event. Now that he's been crowned a hero on social and in mainstream media, how is he feeling?
From the NY Times:
Asked about the attention and support he had received from Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Zuckerberg, a founder of Facebook, Ahmed said, "It felt really outstanding," adding that he wanted to use his moment in the spotlight to "try my best not just to help me but to help every other kid in the entire world that has a problem like this." He introduced himself, after saying "as-salaamu alaykum," the Muslim greeting of peace, as "the person who built a clock and got in a lot of trouble for it.