Three men charged with 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing


Charging documents allege the four men possessed assault rifles from October 2017 to March 2018. McWhorter and Mack will make their respective initial appearances at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.

Michael Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, and Michael McWhorter, 29, are accused of carrying out the attack on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, just before morning prayers on August 5 2017. 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.

Tuesday morning, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested four rural east central IL men on a criminal complaint that charges them with possession of a machine gun. All are from Clarence, a rural community 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana. In January, a second informant told authorities that the three men had carried out the mosque bombing and the failed clinic bombing, according to the complaint.

A complaint said a tip in December led authorities to investigate the three men, after a person sent the local sheriff photos of guns and bomb-making material inside Hari's parents' home, where Hari often stayed. The pipe bomb, constructed of polyvinyl chloride, known as "PVC", exploded, causing extensive damage. McWhorter also provided details of the bomb plots, authorities said.

According to the federal affidavit, one of the suspects, McWhorter, said the group bombed the mosque to "scare [Muslims] out of the country" and to "show them [Muslims], 'Hey, you're not welcome here, get the fuck out'".

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the attackers.

According to the affidavit, Mr. McWhorter told a law enforcement official that during the attempted bombing at the Women's Heath Practice in Champaign, Ill., Mr. Morris had been dropped off at the clinic in the middle of the night, smashed the clinic window and thrown an explosive device inside. Minnesota is home to an estimated 57,000 Somalis, the largest Somali population outside of east Africa, according to the MN State Demographic Center.

Mohamed Omar (left), the executive director of the Dar Al Farooq Center Islamic Center, leads afternoon prayers outside the police tape after a bombing past year.

"That bombing that took place last summer was a tragedy for all Minnesotans", US Attorney Gregory Brooker said, adding that it remains a top priority for law enforcement.