Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Muslim Teen's Family Demands $15 Million for Clock-Not-Bomb Fiasco

The Texas teen who made a clock that was mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed Mohamed,14, is asking for $15 million and an apology. Specifically, his family's lawyers sent demand letters to the city and school district that responded to the science project by panicking.

Threatening to sue within 60 days if they did not pay for the illegal detention and questioning, the Muslim family is asking for $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district, according to The Guardian. "Understandably, Mr. Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son -- and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it," attorneys wrote in one of the letters.

Officials Consider

The school district issued a statement saying its lawyers were reviewing the letter and will respond appropriately. School employees are accused of illegally detaining the boy and questioning him in the principal's office without parents or a lawyer present.

The city of Irving did not immediately respond to reporters' requests for comment. Its lawyers are no doubt wondering what constitutes an appropriate response too. The school's mistake about a science project turned into a diplomatic fiasco drawing international attention to this city west of Dallas.

Aftermath of the Arrest

The alarmist response to Ahmed Mohamed's creativity reflected poorly on Irving, Texas, and the United States. President Obama invited Ahmed to the White House and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the boy deserved "applause and not arrest."

Indeed, he was offered a scholarship in Qatar, among other opportunities. The Mohamed family moved to Qatar last month and has reportedly been traveling around the world since, meeting leaders and dignitaries (including Sudan's president, accused by the International Criminal Court of genocide). They have also appeared on television.

Still, the demand letter states that their lives have been destroyed and that they were driven from Texas. Given the delicate topics at play in this case and the fact that the world is watching, the city of Irving and its school district are likely seriously considering a settlement.

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