Friday, 4 February 2011
About that Dearborn mosque bomber

You've certainly heard about 63-year old Roger Stockham from Southern California, who drove to Dearborn Michigan where he was arrested outside a mosque and charged with attempting to blow it up?  Of course you have, it was front-page news, perhaps even internationally.

The much-feared and never-seen "Backlash" was here.  Finally.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad (!) said that Stockham was carrying "more than two dozen Class-C fireworks" (the least powerful, the kind that the general public can buy, including sparklers and stick matches), of which "some" were M-80 firecrackers.  An M-80 firecracker could blow a finger off if tightly held, but could not possibly damage a structure, especially one of the largest mosques in America.  Possession of fireworks is banned in Michigan, so Stockham was breaking the law, technically speaking.
  • Stockham made  threats against the mosque while drinking in a Detroit bar.  Bartender Joe Nahhas called police, leading to Stockham's arrest.
  • Roger Stockham has a looooong history of violence.  Some of the "highlights" of his "career" include threatening to kill then-Presidents Jimmy Carter in 1979 (no comments from the peanut gallery, please) and George W. Bush in 2002, and temporarily shutting down Reno International Airport with a bomb in 1985.
  • Today (Feb. 4, 2011) Stockham fired his court-appointed attorney Mark Haidar, saying Haidar was a "Shi'ite" and a "patron of the [targeted] mosque".

Are your spidey-senses getting tingly yet?  The Islamic Center of America in Dearborn Michigan is indeed a Shi'ite mosque.  Stockham apparently knows more about the Sunni-Shi'a distinction than some of our top U.S. Administration officials.

  • On September 1, 1979 Stockham was arrested after kidnapping his 9-year old stepson, and then attempting to hijack a jetliner at LAX to fly to Tehran. (Note the first sentence of that story).

And of course the punchline:

  • Roger Stockham is/was a convert to Islam who goes by the name of Hem Ahadin.

I cannot yet find when his conversion to Islam took place, or whether or when he became an apostate from Islam, or to which branch of Islam he belonged, or which mosque he attended, if any.  We're not likely to hear those details, since the police and media will surely decide that they're irrelevant and keep them under tight lock-and-key.  But we know that by 1979 he was referring to himself as a Muslim, and as recently as two weeks ago he was posting on Facebook under the name Hem Ahadin, which he called his "Muslim name" and described himself as a "local Muslim terrorist on a roll".

Roger Stockham has a long history of true, professionally-diagnosed mental illness and substance abuse.  And perhaps he is not currently a practicing Muslim, and this drunken, half-witted, half-hearted attack had nothing to do with the Sunni-Shi'a schism.

Perhaps.  But it is interesting to note at least the attraction that Islam has for violent, mentally ill persons.  Zen Buddhism and Quakerism don't seem to have the same level of interest to those who are hearing voices telling them to shoot and stab and bomb and kill.  I wonder why that is, whence comes this ubiquitious affinity?

Posted on 02/04/2011 12:56 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
4 Feb 2011
Esmerelda Weatherwax

In prison in Indonesia, so I read yesterday, but my history has been deleted. But it was a US regional newspaper, so reliable.

4 Feb 2011

I'm going to go out on a limb here, Esme, and assume that you were not in an Indonesian prison yesterday, and that your comment was munged and meant to say something to the effect that Roger Stockham converted to Islam in the 1970's while in prison in Indonesia.  I've seen that claim, I'm still trying to track it down.

Also, here is a quote from a Vermont newspaper:

"On the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Stockham left a message on an editor’s telephone voicemail at the Burlington Free Press saying: “You must now begin the process of learning how to recognize when you are speaking to a representative of the Islamic Jihad.”"

4 Feb 2011
Send an emailEsmerelda Weatherwax

I was indeed at home yesterday, in the bosom of my family.

I have never been to Indonesia. I have only ever set foot in prison in persuance of my duties when I was an official of HM Government.

4 Feb 2011

This is from the Daily Mail

"Joe Nahhas, a manager at the Detroit bar Stockham allegedly visited before his arrest, said Stockham claimed to have become a Muslim after returning from the Vietnam War, and said he recognised that Stockham could speak at least some Arabic."

Stockham at least went to the trouble of learning Arabic, so this was not just drunken spur-of-the-moment ramblings.

Maybe we'll eventually learn the extent to which he was familiar with Islamic scripture, and to what extent he was actually an observant, practicing Muslim.

4 Feb 2011

I should point out for the sake of clarity that I was also not in prison in Indonesia yesterday, and all claims to the contrary will be handled by my solicitor.

From this article at the Dearborn Press and Guide, we see this quote by Stockham/Hem Ahadin:

""I reject my appointed counsel, He is a Shi'ite and I am not. And he attends the mosque I am attempted of accusing(sic)," he said before he was cut off by 19th District Judge Mark Somers."

So, Stockham/Hem Ahadin understands the distinction between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and says that he is not a Shi'ite and does not want a Shi'ite to represent him.

I think the picture is beginning to become more clear.

4 Feb 2011

Also from the Dearborn Press and Guide:

"According to credible court sources, Stockham spoke fluent Arabic in his interview with Haider and quoted Qur'anic verses. After serving in the Army during Vietnam, Stockham spent seven years as a bush pilot working for a private contractor in Indonesia, which has the highest Muslim population of any country in the world."

(Emphasis added). 

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