January 31, 2011 in Nation/World

Police say mosque attack thwarted

Man arrested with explosives in car
Jeff Karoub Associated Press
 

DETROIT – A 63-year-old Southern California man who was traveling with explosives in his vehicle with the intention of blowing up one of the nation’s largest mosques where mourners had gathered for a funeral was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan authorities said Sunday.

Dearborn police said Roger Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent. Stockham had a large but undisclosed quantity of class-C fireworks including M-80s, which are outlawed in Michigan, Chief Ronald Haddad said.

Haddad said Stockham was arrested Monday evening without incident in the parking lot of Islamic Center of America while a large group was gathered inside. He said police received a 911 call from a resident.

Haddad said authorities believe Stockham was acting alone but still take him “very seriously.” He said Stockham has “a long history of anti-government activities,” though he declined to elaborate.

The chief said he called the mosque leader, Imam Hassan al-Qazwini, early Tuesday to let him know of the arrest, and later met with al-Qazwini and mosque board members. He said members shared concerns about copycat crimes if the arrest was publicized, and Haddad said he understood.

Al-Qazwini informed worshippers about the incident during his sermon on Friday. The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter issued a news release Saturday night and the police followed Sunday morning.

Stockham remained jailed Sunday on a $500,000 bond.

A preliminary examination is scheduled for Friday.

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