Sunday, 09 December, 2018

3 central Illinois men charged with Minnesota mosque bombing

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
Gustavo Carr | 17 March, 2018, 02:45

Three men are accused of bombing a mosque in a large Somali community in the midwest United States, in an attempt to scare Muslims into leaving the country, authorities said.

The men arrested and charged are: Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and, Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community approximately 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, according to information from the Department of Justice, United States Attorney John E. Childress, Central District of IL.

Hari, McWhorter, Morris, and a fourth person, 18-year-old Ellis Mack, have been arrested and charged with the possession of a machine gun. All three are from Clarence, a community of less than 100 people some 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Champaign.

McWhorter allegedly told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent during an interview that the three rented a pickup in Champaign and drove to Minnesota with a plan to bomb the mosque, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint alleges that the men carried out the attack, because they wanted to "scare [Muslims] out of the country".

"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".

Hari's accomplices in the terror act have been identified as Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter.

Bloomington police said the bomb only damaged the imam's office at the center and worshippers extinguished the blaze before firefighters arrived.

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McWhorter also allegedly admitted that the three men tried to bomb the abortion clinic on November 7, again renting a truck to carry out the attack. He claimed that it was Mr. Hari's idea to target the mosque and that Mr. Morris had smashed the mosque's window with a sledgehammer, according to the affidavit.

The complaint also said nothing about a possible motivation for the clinic attack.

Later Tuesday, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that there were still many questions that need answering.

Hussein tells The Associated Press that Muslims are glad that the suspects are "no longer a threat to our community".

Its national office also urged mosques and Islamic centers nationwide to increase security.

Minnesota is home to the biggest Somali community outside of east Africa with estimated 57,000 people residing in the Minneapolis area.

Soon after the explosive device was thrown in, the mosque's executive director, Mohamed Omar, said, a member of the congregation rushed outside and saw a truck driving away from the mosque's parking lot.

"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.