Georgia resident Michael Sibley planted pipe bombs, a Quran and a list of potential terrorism targets in a Cobb County park last November, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sibley, 67, appeared in court Monday to face federal charges of conveying false information and attempting to damage federal property.
“The defendant allegedly placed a bag containing what appeared to be pipe bombs in Vickery Creek Park,” Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a statement. “This arrest should reassure the community that serious crimes like this will be investigated thoroughly and all leads followed to identify the perpetrator.”
Sibley considered himself a “patriot” intent on alerting his fellow Americans to the danger of terrorism, according to the government.
“[Sibley]…felt no one was paying attention to what was going on the world,” the government alleged in its court filing. “Sibley felt if he placed the package in a Roswell park then people would finally get that this type of activity could happen anywhere.”
In addition to pipe bombs and the Islamic holy book, Sibley’s bag also allegedly included information about a Jewish center in Atlanta.
Those allegations have led at least one Muslim leader to conclude that Sibley was attempting to engender hatred toward Georgia’s Islamic community.
“I think what Michael Sibley did was beyond reckless and had he been successful with his ill-conceived scheme, the Muslim community could very well have been in line for some severe backlash,” said attorney M. Khurram Baig, who has delivered speeches to Muslim-American audiences highlighting the need for security and vigilance amid threats to the local community.
Baig added, “This incident serves as yet another reminder that violence and hate are not the sole property of any particular group of people and that vigilance can truly prevent tragedy. It also reminds us that as Muslims, constant community and civic engagement is critical to helping heal divides and misunderstandings so that people like Mr. Sibley may one day see Islam for what it is, not what they think it is.”
Editor’s note: Edward Ahmed Mitchell is an attorney and member of the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Community Center of Atlanta who serves as News Editor of AtlantaMuslim.com. Follow him on Twitter @edmovie.