Federal prosecutors charge three in Minnesota mosque bombing

Michael Hari mugshot via The News Gazette
Michael Hari in a 2017 police mugshot

The Associated Press reports that McWhorter allegedly told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent following his arrest the group planned to bomb a mosque to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the USA and to "scare them out of the country".

Four fully automatic weapons that met the federal definition for a machine gun were found by police at the home of McWhorter's brother, who told officers Hari and Morris had brought the weapons to his home several days earlier. No one was injured in the blast.

Charges also state that, when drinking one night with Morris and McWhorter, a source said Morris began talking about throwing a black powder pipe bomb at a mosque in Minnesota.

It is unclear why the suspects traveled more than 600 miles from their hometown of Clarence, Illinois, to allegedly carry out the attack against the mosque in Minnesota.

Investigators believe Hari, McWhorter, Morris are also responsible for an attempted bombing of a Women's Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois on November 7, 2017. The three connected to the bombings and a fourth IL man were arrested on Tuesday morning and charged with possession of a machine gun. There they found a pipe bomb attached to a propane tank, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said Mr. Morris later complained to a confidential law enforcement source that the device had not gone off and that he had no idea why. "We believe it is possible one of our neighbors in our communities may have put the target on the mosque forcing the individuals who live in IL to decide to attack a mosque in Minnesota".

The incident was similar to the attempted bomb attack at an abortion clinic three months later.

Michael Hari
Michael Hari's company submitted a proposal to build Trump's border wall
Michael Hari Michael Hari's company submitted a proposal to build Trump's border wall

Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim advocacy and civil liberties group Council on American-Islamic Relations, welcomed news of the arrests.

"This is definitely a relief that this case is finally to conclusion and those assailants-slash-suspects are apprehended and no longer a threat to our community", Hussein told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The Dar Al-Farooq mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. "Why this one out of the 75 mosques in Minnesota?" said Asad Zaman, an imam, and Muslim Society of Minnesota executive director.

Officials said at the time that witnesses saw someone throw something from a truck or van before the blast and saw a vehicle speed away afterward.

Gov. Mark Dayton called the bombing an act of terrorism when he and other officials visited the mosque the day after the explosion. The FBI had offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the bombing.

"That bombing that took place last summer has been a tragedy for all Minnesotans", said Greg Brooker, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

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