After the 14 year old maker/tinkerer was arrested on bullshit terrorism charges in his family's adoptive home in the small Texas town of Inving, many Americans spoke up in support of him, including President Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
He was feted by institutions like MIT, but ultimately, the best offer came from the authoritarian monarchy in Qatar, whose Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development offered the boy a full scholarship for his secondary and undergrad education.
It's a huge PR coup for the Qataris, who, like many authoritarian states, struggle with brain-drain to the west. The Irvine police's high-profile demonstration that the USA is a country whose freedoms are reserved to people without Muslim names made a good case for viewing the US as democratic in name only, and not so different from any of the middle east's dictatorships.
Mohamed comes from a poltiically shrewd family; his father is a perennial pro-human-rights presidential candidate in his native Sudan. This is certainly not lost on them, but neither is the reality that their son came within inches of a long-term prison sentence or even a police execution for which no one would ever be held accountable.
"Our family has been overwhelmed by the many offers of support we have received since the unfortunate incident of Ahmed's arrest," the Mohamed family said in the release. "From the White House to Sudan, to Mecca, we have been welcomed by a variety of individuals, businesses and educational institutions."
According to his family, Ahmed will be enrolled in the Qatar Foundation's "Young Innovators" program and his whole family will relocate with him to Qatar.
"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," said Ahmed in the news release. "The teachers were great. I think I will learn a lot and have fun too."'
(via Mitch Wagner)