by Conor Friedersdorf
The Detroit Free Press reports:
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.
The suspect, Robert Stockham, is 63-years-old, and since he is a white American citizen, this is inevitably going to serve as a point of comparison: are there going to be calls from the usual suspects to deny him a trial in civilian courts?
An interesting detail from later in the story:
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.
So often in these stories, a violent act is ostensibly averted thanks to the stupidity of the alleged perpetrator and someone he interacts with calling the police.
Reuters adds this detail:
He carried class-C fireworks -- called "consumer fireworks" by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a police source said.
That's the type sold at stands around the Fourth of July, which is surprising. You'd have to have a hell of a lot of those fireworks to blow up a building. "It was a substantial quantity (of explosives), enough to do us harm," said Kassem Allie, 53, the executive administrator of the Islamic Center. It'll be interesting to see if the story is being hyped or if this guy ammassed a huge cache of consumer grade fireworks.
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