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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?

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