Rural Illinois Men Charged With Minnesota Mosque Bombing


A Minnesota Muslim leader is welcoming the arrests of three men from central IL suspected in the bombing of a suburban Minneapolis mosque last summer.

Federal prosecutors say they have linked three Ford County men to the bombing of a Bloomington, Minnesota mosque last August and an attempted bombing three months later at a Champaign women's health clinic that performs abortions.

Michael McWhorter, 29, all of Clarence, face one count each of arson in federal court, said U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Gregory G. Brooker.

The three men, plus a fourth who was arrested on the gun charge, are from Clarence, a small unincorporated town in eastern Ford County.

The three suspects were arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in Illinois and also charged with possession of assault rifles, which are classified as machine guns, and an attempted bombing of the Women's Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois on November 7, according to a statement from the Illinois U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield.

Fellow suspect Hari also previously told the Chicago Tribune in April 2017 how he planned to build President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico for around $10 billion.

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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. According to the affidavit, Hari often stays at his parents' home because his home has no running water or electricity. The pipe bomb, constructed of polyvinyl chloride, known as "PVC", exploded, causing extensive damage. An explosive device was thrown through the clinic window but failed to detonate, prosecutors said.

The affidavit said McWhorter confessed on Saturday, telling authorities that it was Hari's idea to bomb the mosque to scare Muslims out of the country because they push their beliefs on everyone else.

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

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

"A witness saw something being thrown at the imam's office window from a van or truck before the blast", Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said at a news conference.

Mohamed Omar, the center's executive director, said at the time that the mosque didn't receive any threats beforehand or claims of responsibility afterward.