Federal prosecutors recently announced that four rural Illinois men were arrested and charged with possession of a machine gun. While that charge connects the four, three of the men were already of interest to the public. 

Michael B. Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, and Michael McWhorter, 29, were each arrested and charged in connection with a Minnesota mosque bomb attack designed to inspire fear in local Muslims. The fourth man implicated for machine gun possession, Ellis Mack, 18, is not believed to be connected with the bombing.

Hari, Morris and McWhorter are accused of deploying an improvised explosive device against the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center last August. 

The government’s complaint alleges that the three men rented a car and traveled from Illinois to Minnesota to perform the attack. The complaint also alleges that McWhorter explained that the suspects wanted to scare Muslims out of the United States and “show them hey, you’re not welcome here, get the f*ck out.” The mosque attack caused structural damage, but did not physically harm any people.

The same three suspects were also charged for attempting to bomb an Illinois women’s health clinic three months after the mosque blast, but that bomb failed to detonate. The women’s facility provides a variety of human health care services, including abortions.

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton described the mosque attack as “so wretched and added, “This is an act of terrorism. This is against the law in America.”

The Minnesota mosque’s membership is primarily people of Somali descent, as Al Jazeera reported. Somali Muslim communities tend to experience the intersecting violence of anti-Blackness and Islamophobia.

 

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