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St Paul (KROC AM News) -  The leader of an Illinois terrorist militia group who was convicted of planning the bombing of a Minnesota mosque has been sentenced to a long prison term.

Sentenced Monday to 53 years was 50-year-old Emily Claire Hari. At the time of her arrest, she was known as Michael Hari.

Ford County Sheriff's Office photo
Ford County Sheriff's Office photo

Hari was convicted in December for his role in the 2017 bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. Two accomplices pleaded guilty earlier and are awaiting sentencing. The US Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis prosecuted the case.

Several mosque members were in the building for morning prayers at the time of the bombing but they were not hurt.

According to the Attorney’s Office:

Hari established a terrorist militia group called “The White Rabbits” in Clarence, Illinois. Hari recruited co-defendants Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris to join the militia, which Hari outfitted with paramilitary equipment and assault rifles. On August 4 and 5, 2017, Hari, McWhorter, and Morris drove in a rented pickup truck from Illinois to Bloomington, Minnesota, to bomb the DAF Islamic Center. Hari targeted DAF specifically to terrorize Muslims into believing they are not welcome in the United States and should leave the country.

Hari, McWhorter, and Morris arrived at DAF on August 5, 2017, at approximately 5:00 a.m. At Hari’s direction, Morris used a sledgehammer to break the window of the Imam’s office at DAF and threw a plastic container with a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline into the office. Then, also at Hari’s direction, McWhorter lit the fuse on a 20-pound black powder pipe bomb and threw it through the broken window. McWhorter and Morris ran back to the truck where Hari was waiting in the driver’s seat. The three men sped away from the building and drove back to Illinois. When the pipe bomb exploded, the blast caused extensive damage to the Imam’s office. It also ignited the gasoline and diesel mixture, causing extensive fire and smoke damage. At the time of the bombing, several worshipers were gathered in the mosque for morning prayers.

In handing down the sentence, United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank described the attack orchestrated by Hari as a highly sophisticated and premeditated act of domestic terrorism.

“Hari sought to terrorize an entire faith community. Today’s sentence makes clear that such acts of hate-fueled terror will not be tolerated,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The Dar al-Farooq community has shown powerful strength and resolve during this case. As demonstrated by this verdict and sentence against Hari, the Justice Department will prosecute hate crimes to the full extent of the law, including those that target places of worship and other religious sites.”

“Today, the person responsible for the 2017 bombing of the Dar al-Farooq mosque has been sentenced to 53 years in prison. Through our system of justice, the Minnesota community has collectively condemned this hate-fueled attack and decisively upheld every individual’s Constitutional right to live and worship free from violence and intimidation,” said Acting United States Attorney W. Anders Folk. “As we mark the closing of a painful chapter, it is my hope that the members of Dar al-Farooq and the broader faith community impacted by this attack will continue to heal and regain a sense of safety and security.”

News update:  Chicago man charged with robbing Rochester bank.

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