California man jailed in alleged attempt to blow up Dearborn mosque

by
January 31, 2011
By Niraj Warikoo and Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press

A California man is in jail on a terrorism charge after he was arrested in Dearborn for allegedly trying to blow up the biggest mosque in metro Detroit, Dearborn officials said today.

The suspect was arrested in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn on Monday, while hundreds were inside the mosque that sits along Ford Road, police said. He came to the city because of its large Arab-American and Muslim population, police said.

Roger Stockham, 63, was arraigned Wednesday on one count on a threat of terrorism or false report and one count of explosive-possession of bombs with unlawful intent for possession of Class C fireworks, Dearborn Police said.

“He’s very dangerous,” Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad told the Free Press. “We took his threat to be very serious.”

Haddad said the man was previously known to law enforcement officials in other parts of the country.

“He’s had a long history of being angry with the United States government,” Haddad said.

Stockham, in jail on a $500,000 bond, drove from California to Dearborn and was caught with a car packed with high-end fireworks. The FBI has been notified about the incident, Haddad said.

“He picked Dearborn as a stop because of the huge Arab and Muslim population,” Haddad said.

Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arab-Americans in the U.S. and has garnered increased attention in recent years as a center of Islam.

Haddad said that a witness said that Stockham was planning to blow up the mosque. The suspect “appeared to be acting alone,” Haddad said. “His threat has been mitigated.”

An employee at a local bar called police after overhearing violent threats allegedly made by the man, Islamic Center of America Executive Administrator Kassem Allie said. The employee was afraid that Stockham was going to target Muslims or Arabs in the area, he said.

Allie said he wants to thank the person who called police and said if it wasn’t for the call the incident could have ended differently.

To read more, visit: http://www.freep.com/article/20110130/NEWS02/110130013/1055/SPORTS07/Calif-man-jailed-alleged-plot-blow-up-Dearborn-mosque?odyssey=nav|head

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