January 30th, 2011
06:36 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
A man arrested by Dearborn, Michigan, police and charged with possessing explosives in connection with making terrorist threats was targeting one of America's largest mosques, according to officials at the Muslim house of worship.
A 63-year-old California man was arraigned Wednesday and charged with one count of false report or threat of terrorism and one count of explosives - possession of bombs with unlawful intent - the Dearborn Police Department said in a press release Sunday.
Roger Stockham was in possession of Class C fireworks, according to Dearborn Police Officer Brandon Nichols.
The felony charges carry maximum sentences of 20 years and 15 years respectively, Nichols said. Stockham is being held on $500,000 bond with a requirement of a GPS tether if bond is posted, according to the police department's release.
Dearborn police informed the Islamic Center of America on Tuesday that they had arrested an individual with "a large quantity of fireworks in his car" in the mosque's parking lot a day earlier, a Sunday press release from the mosque said.
"According to police they received a tip from an employee of a local establishment stating that he overheard threats against Muslims or Arabs made by this individual," the mosque's press release said. "A search of area mosques was conducted and a man fitting the description provided was found and taken into custody at the Islamic Center of America mosque."
Members of the Islamic Center of America were alerted to the threat during Friday's prayer service, according to CNN Detroit affiliate WDIV.
Stockham is scheduled to appear in court this Friday, Nichols said. He said the police continue to investigate the incident.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Class C fireworks are known as consumer fireworks and are "most commonly sold at neighborhood stands during the Fourth of July season."
"While we still don't know all the details of this crime we do know from police reports that the individual has a record of contact with law enforcement for other threats of violence," the mosque said in its release.
"Crimes like this recent attempt and others intended to create terror among our citizens must be identified for what they are," the release said, "useless attempts at dividing a great diverse nation."
Located just outside of Detroit, Dearborn is home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. The Islamic Center of North America was founded in the 1963, according to its website, which says the mosque building is the largest in North America.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.