3 men charged in Bloomington Mosque bombing

Erika Holt
March 14, 2018

It identifies them as Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29.

"What would cause somebody who lives in IL to target this mosque?"

Federal authorities say the men were arrested Tuesday in IL on separate gun charges and that they were suspects in the mosque bombing.

Law enforcement also had received information in December from confidential sources who said Hari possessed guns and bomb-making materials, said the court filing. The building was damaged, but no one was killed or injured during the attack.

According to the USA attorney's office in Springfield, Michael B. Hari, Joe Morris, and Michael McWhorter are suspected of carrying out the Bloomington attack, as well as attempting to bomb the Women's Health Practice abortion clinic in Champaign, Illinois, in November.

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. McWhorter described a PVC pipe bomb and said Morris broke a window and threw it in, where it failed to go off, according to the complaint. The men are accused of throwing a pipe bomb containing black powder into the mosque before it detonated.

Federal authorities in Minnesota say the investigation is ongoing, but they believe there is no further threat to the community.

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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.

McWhorter originally denied having any knowledge of the mosque bombing, but according to the complaint, he later admitted to it, stating he, Hari and Morris drove to Minnesota in a rented vehicle.

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

"While there are still many questions to be asked, we are grateful the people responsible for this attack will be brought to justice", said Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community outside of east Africa, with an estimated 57,000 people, according to the most recent census estimates.

"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. The video didn't show the blast itself. Morris and Hari made their initial appearance on federal charges related to an attempted bombing in Champaign, Illinois, today before Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long in U.S. District Court in Urbana, Illinois.

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