January 30, 2011 / 11:13 PM / in 7 years

Man held over threat to Dearborn mosque: police

(Recasts lead, adds details)

CHICAGO - A man found with explosives outside one of the nation’s largest mosques in suburban Detroit is in jail facing felony charges, police said on Sunday.

Roger Stockham, 63, of California, was arrested with explosives last Monday outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, and faces felony charges that carry up to 35 years in prison, Dearborn police told Reuters by phone.

Stockham was arraigned on January 26 on one felony count of making a false report or terrorist threat and one count of possessing explosives with unlawful intent.

He carried class-C fireworks -- called “consumer fireworks” by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a police source said.

“It was a substantial quantity (of explosives), enough to do us harm,” said Kassem Allie, 53, the executive administrator of the Islamic Center.

Almost 30 percent of Dearborn’s 97,775 residents are Arab, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report from 2006. The Islamic Center of America is a 70,000 square-foot facility that can accommodate 1,000 people, according to news reports.

The incident was called a “bias-motivated attack” in a statement issued on Saturday by Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Michigan branch of the Center on American-Islamic Relations.

“We thank law enforcement authorities for their quick and professional actions in this troubling incident,” Walid said. “The increased number of bias incidents targeting American Muslim institutions must be addressed by local, state and national officials and law enforcement authorities.”

Bond has been set at $500,000 cash, with the requirement of a GPS tether if bond is posted, and a court date is set for February 4.

Reporting by Eric Johnson; Editing by Jerry Norton

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