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January 30th, 2011
06:36 PM ET

Man charged with making terrorist threats in connection with mosque

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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Houses of worship • Islam • Michigan • Mosque

soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Renee

    Well, well, well, look what we have here! It appears that terrorists come in all shapes, sizes and COLOR. Why isn't this man's photo being circulated all over the newspapers and television media like the other terrorists? Is there a bias in the media against people of other nations/non-whites who do the same thing? If you want viewers to respect the work you do, report fairly.

    January 31, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  2. Kina

    I guess it if it were a Muslim man in front of a Christian church, this would have been FRONT PAGE news. Instead I literally had to type the man's name into the search to find this article. Yup, lets me know where the prejudice lies.

    January 31, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  3. Debra

    This guy has been a playing with explosives for a long time, http://ceinquiry.us/2011-01-30-roger-stockham, starting, as far as I can tell, after his arrest after holding his doctor hostage (with explosives) in 1977 http://bit.ly/fEp1Qp. I'm just not sure why he hasn't been watched more carefully. Why don't we take better care of our veterans?

    January 31, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  4. Muneef

    Love these few word;

    لاأحب التعــــآلي ... لكن أمام من يُهيننــــي سيبقى رأســي عالـــي ... و كلما أهنتني بنيت طابقاً في مملكة كبريـــآئي ... حتى أرتفعتُ فلم تَعُد ترى سوى خيـــالي ... فلا تحلم بتدميري ... فسيدفنُك أنهيـــآري ... فهذا ليس حطــــآمي بل جمرة من جمـــــرآت بركــــاني

    January 31, 2011 at 7:07 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Sadly Muneef, this is one of the reasons that some Muslims have such a problem. A good saying that only the speaker knows is not really worth that much. If God has blessed it to be a piece of wisdom than would he not wish it upon all of his Children to hear it and learn from it.

      January 31, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Muneef

      Mark from Miiddle River.

      Hi,we meet again, this is a poem,not Quran, have searched for it in English but not found any. If translated by me it will lose the touch as my words are poor in expressions !? Only an Arab American with good grasp of Arabic English poetry can help more than me...I learned your language although not professionally but manage and use dictionaries...Sad to see that many Muslims can not speak,read or write Arabic the language of the Quran and the language of the middle east business and political opportunities,maybe on behalf of your people enter Arabic blogs and try to understand or assist to explain...
      It is as well required from those who are religious ones as well to communicate,it is communication gap between nations!?
      As if you want to hear me in your language but you do not want to hear me in my language ? It is the newer version of the language spoken by the Prophet Jesus?!

      January 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      Muneef
      The quran and islam should not require learning arabic for humanity to accept they are divine. God could have sent the Quran in Mandarin and English and Hindi at the same time. Afterall the Prophet was simply repeating what he was hearing, God could then have paraphrased the same thing in three other languages and the companions could have written down all three as well as the Arabic lnaguage version.

      Afterall, you claim God was speaking to all mankind, so it would have made perfect sense to the Prophet and his companions to write down whatever strange language was being spoken by God and to pass it on to the right people wherever they were on the planet.

      Don't hide behind excuses of Arabic Language to explain your faith.

      February 1, 2011 at 6:21 am |
  5. Highplains

    "Class C fireworks are known as consumer fireworks and are "most commonly sold at neighborhood stands during the Fourth of July season."

    Say what?

    I stopped at the post office to pick up my mail after I bought fireworks last July. . . . Maybe I should be arrested for trying to bomb a federal building.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  6. Highplains

    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/3770/the-company-he-keeps-obama-hangs-with-hezbollahs-iranian-agent-imam/

    January 31, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  7. milmarm

    As a Catholic Christian, may I express my relief that this poor, sick man was caught before he caused harm to anyone. Violence is never an answer.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  8. FayeValentine69

    To everyone commenting that he's being charged to heavily because he had Class C explosives: are you honestly suggesting that only people smart enough to pulll of a crime should be punished for it? Just because someone is too stupid to remove the safety before pulling the trigger doesn't mean they shouldn't still be tried for attmpted murder.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  9. Luke

    Sudden crusade syndrome?

    January 31, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Luke

      Hmmm.... ya' know, very well could be.

      Peace...

      January 31, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  10. Reality

    Why bother, said mosque is simply another site of "worthless worship" and will be closed due to lack of attendance after the "five-a-day bowers" come to grips with the Mohammed Gabriel con.

    Other "angelic" cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

    For added information see the review at:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

    January 30, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  11. rester

    if he were a muslim the plan would v been fulfilled and he wouldv used real bomb not fire works muslims make promises not threats and they act on it.thats what scares me.and this just shows how powerful yet dangerous they are becoming

    January 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • ReplytoRester

      The only thing that worries me and other people is the fact that there are people like this guy who are so full of hate against one faith that you want to blow their mosques. And the other thing that worries us even more seriously is that there are people like you who think that it is OK to blow mosques. I think they should seriously do something about you because you are a threat to the peace of our country.

      January 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  12. rbags

    What? no "firework control" comments? Atleast be consistent libbys

    January 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  13. Justina

    The West should outlaw blasphemy, if it cannot shrink its perverse immorality. Present rotten Western culture makes every person extreme, and serious conflicts in every segment is inevitable under this extreme climate. Present Western perversion supporters are totally self-destructive just like Sodomites.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Dawn

      I agree. The Spanish Inquisition was deeply misunderstood. Torturing and burning suspected heretics alive in the public square is JUST what this country needs.

      The problem with morality is that it is deeply suggestive. What is perfectly acceptable to you, is abhorrent to others (and visa versa). Part of living in a free society is the understanding that YOUR opinion on morality is not more valid than anyone else's. It's the consensus of the masses that dictate what is proper, not the hypocricial condemnation of religious whackadoodles.

      January 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • pig vomit

      So, you want us to eat dirt and die? Got news honey, when your group shoots a live man to the moon and brings him back alive, then, you will have arrived. Until then, you rely on our weapons to make your point. But, we got a whole lot more of them than you do.

      January 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Justina

      It's people like you (in general) that post comments like this that truly scare the sh!t out of me.

      Peace...

      January 30, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • johnee

      Go live in iran or pakistan or... Egypt . I'm sure they'll have blasphemy laws soon.

      Same crap from so many posters! I tell the truth about the dangers of islam and I'm now accused of hate speech. That spin is on it's way out as people with 1/2 a brain see islam for what it is and is not. Islam is not peaceful. Islam is not a religion and when they are trying to take over this counrty people like me will not be to blame

      January 31, 2011 at 8:03 am |
  14. Shane

    So let me get this straight. A white man was arrested fir allegedly trying to blow up a major mosque, CNN provides a little blurb about the incident. Now let's assume that if it was Muslim man arrested in an attemp to blow up a church. CNN. Wouldn't you be feeding us stories provided to you by Fox and Palin, prominently portraying it as "breaking terror news?" I'm glad CNN is playing its part in keeping the stupid, well, stupid!! Rednecks unite!!!

    January 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  15. on_my_soapbox

    ... and why was this guy arrested ? I don't understand.

    religion is the root of all evil. (you may quote me on that)

    on_my_soapbox

    January 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  16. Drew

    i do not understand the cnn moderation system. I post something "neutral" and its moderated, yet the guy above me can say slander against a religion and it goes through? cnn make up your minds or something.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Drew

      You might want to read the post below that @Reality post's almost daily about the 'filters.'

      Hope that this helps and you can find out what word or word combinations are stopping your posts from going through.

      Once a day WARNING for new commentators:

      • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

      January 30, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Drew

      thanks. odd that the filters do that, oh well cnn must be run by microsoft heh.

      January 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  17. A Jew

    Christianist terrorism.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  18. Muneef

    Good night from me got to go for fajir prayer and a little sleep.thanks bye

    January 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  19. Dan

    Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and He is the ONLY way into Heaven. Repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus. Do it now.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Dan
      More meaningless dribble...

      January 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Dan

      I am trying to figure out if this was just a total non-sequitur and plug for the Christian religion, or maybe the guy in the article needs Jesus...? Both...? Neither...Something else...?

      Peace...

      January 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  20. MJ

    great diverse nation.. ha that therein lies the problem me thinks with all this war issue thats going on, instead of worrying what the rest of the world is doing and trying to feed their poor while being shat on by them, we should look after our own first

    January 30, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
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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.