Illinois man sentenced for '17 Minnesota mosque blasting

Authorities say that the leader of an Illinois antigovernment militia group was responsible for the bombing attack on a Minnesota mosque in 2017. He will be sentenced Monday to several hate crimes and civil rights violations.

Illinois man sentenced for '17 Minnesota mosque blasting

Authorities say that the leader of an Illinois antigovernment militia group was responsible for the bombing attack on a Minnesota mosque in 2017. He will be sentenced Monday to several hate crimes and civil rights violations.

TheEditor
TheEditor
13 September 2021 Monday 06:01
1085 Reads
Illinois man sentenced for '17 Minnesota mosque blasting

Emily Claire Hari, who was previously known as Michael Hari and recently said she is transgender, faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison for the attack on Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. The minimum sentence is what defense attorneys want, but the prosecutors seek a life sentence because Hari has not taken responsibility for the attack.

Prosecutors asked for a life sentence and wrote that the bomb, the Defendant's bomb, was an act terror intended to decimate a community. Although no one was hurt, prosecutors stated that the Defendant had irrevocably destroyed any sense of safety or peace that a house where worship is supposed provide.

Hari was convicted in December on five counts, including damaging property because of its religious character and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs. She didn't testify and it was not known if she would make any statements at sentencing.

Mohamed Omar, Dar al-Farooq's executive director, stated that he hopes Hari is sentenced to life to prove that white supremacy will not be tolerated. He also said that people should be allowed to worship freely. Omar stated that he and others from the community plan to give victim impact statements at this hearing.

Omar stated that Omar felt "we just lost a feeling of security" and added Hari's attack on the mosque made it a "hot spot for harassment or intimidation" making it difficult to worship. It became a struggle.

A pipe bomb was thrown through an office window by an imam, causing several men to gather at Dar al-Farooq on Aug. 5, 2017. Authorities spent seven months investigating Clarence, Illinois. Clarence is a rural community located 120 miles (190 km) south of Chicago. Hari was there with co-defendants Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter.

Authorities claim Hari, 50, was a leader of a group called The White Rabbits, which included McWhorter and Morris, and that Hari devised the attack on the mosque. Prosecutors claimed that Hari was motivated by hatred of Muslims and cited excerpts from Hari’s manifesto, The White Rabbit Handbook.

McWhorter and Morris, who portrayed Hari as a father figure, each pleaded guilty to five counts and testified against her. They are currently awaiting sentence.

Although it wasn't immediately clear how the White Rabbits were made aware of Dar al-Farooq at first, the mosque was a major news story in the years preceding the attack. Some young men from Minnesota had visited Syria to join the Islamic State group. The leaders of mosques were not accused of any wrongdoing. Hari's lawyers wrote in court filings, that she was the victim of online misinformation regarding the mosque.

Shannon Elkins, assistant federal defender, also stated that Hari was driven by gender dysphoria. She said she wanted to change but was afraid of being rejected. So she created a "rag-tag" group of freedom fighters or militiamen and secretly searched for'sexchange,' transgender surgery' and 'post op transgender.

Prosecutors stated that gender dysphoria was not an excuse for guilt and that using it to "deflect guilt" is offensive.

Hari has brought up other issues during her time in custody. Hari called the Star Tribune hours after her conviction and stated that she was on hunger strike. She also called the trial a "sham".

She tried to delay her sentencing last week by citing her upcoming appointments for hormone replacement therapy as well as to treat a life-threatening allergy. But a judge rejected her request. Before revealing her gender dysphoria issues, she sued the Minnesota authorities where she was held, claiming she opposed to a female performing a pat-down for religious reasons. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Prosecutors are asking for several sentencing enhancements in their request to impose a life sentence. They argue that Hari was responsible for the bombing. They also say Hari committed obstruction when she tried to escape from custody during her transfer from Illinois to Minnesota for trial in February 2019. Hari denied trying to flee.

Hari is a former deputy sheriff and self-described entrepreneur. She also farms watermelon and has published self-published books. Dr. Phil aired her story. After she fled to Belize, South America in the early 2000s as a result of a custody dispute, she gained attention on the "Dr. She was convicted for child abduction and sentenced with probation.

Hari also sued federal government accusing it that she had harmed her food safety business.

She used the pseudonym "Illinois Patriot" before her 2018 arrest for the mosque bombing. Hari claimed that Clarence was being terrorized by the FBI and local police. She asked freedom-loving people to help her.

In a failed attack on Champaign's abortion clinic in November 2017, Hari, McWhorter, and Morris were also arrested. McWhorter, Morris and Hari have entered into plea agreements. They were accused of participating in an armed home invasion and attempted or actual armed robbery at two Walmart stores in Illinois.

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