3 arrested on gun charges suspected in Minnesota mosque bombing

Michael Hari mugshot via The News Gazette
Michael Hari in a 2017 police mugshot

Officers say Hari, McWhorter and Morris were responsible for the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington Minn. on August 5 2017 and the attempted bombing of the Women's Health Practice in Champaign on November 7 2017.

According to an affidavit obtained by Fox 9, McWhorter allegedly told an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent during an interview that the three rented a pickup in Champaign and drove to Minnesota with a plan to bomb the mosque, according to a criminal complaint.

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'". No one was injured in the blast.

A PVC pipe bomb was thrown through the mosque window just before morning prayers, causing a fire that left extensive damage but no injuries, prosecutors said.

The targeted mosque mainly services Somalians. The men are accused of throwing a pipe bomb containing black powder into the mosque before it detonated.

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

The affidavit said Mr. Morris later complained to a confidential law enforcement source that the device had not gone off and that he had no idea why.

"It is possible that one of our neighbors of our communities may have put the target on this mosque, forcing individuals who live in IL to attack a mosque in Minnesota", he said.

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

"This is definitely a relief that this case is finally to conclusion and those assailants-slash-suspects are apprehended and no longer a threat to our community", Hussein told the Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday.

The Islamic Center primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area and houses a mosque and religious school for children. Minnesota is home to an estimated 57,000 Somalis, the largest Somali population outside of east Africa, according to the MN State Demographic Center. The mosque's executive director, Mohamed Omar, said the vehicle immediately sped away.

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

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) called the attack "an act of terrorism" shortly after it was carried out.

"That bombing that took place last summer has been a tragedy for all Minnesotans", said Greg Brooker, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

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