Muslim Leaders Speak About Bloomington Mosque Bombing Arrests

Three Illinois men charged with bombing Minnesota mosque to 'scare' Muslims out of the US

Three Illinois men charged with bombing Minnesota mosque to 'scare' Muslims out of the US

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. In January, a second informant told authorities that the three men had carried out the mosque bombing and the failed clinic bombing, according to the complaint.

The targeted mosque mainly services Somalians.

"Hari was the driver, Morris was responsible for smashing the window in, and McWhorter was responsible for throwing the bomb in the window", the affidavit states. There they found a pipe bomb attached to a propane tank, according to the affidavit.

A witness outside the mosque heard the sound of breaking glass and saw a man get into a dark pickup truck.

On Tuesday, authorities did not address whether anyone from Minnesota was involved in the incident.

Police in Bloomington were called in the early morning of August 5 about an explosion at the mosque, after a bomb was thrown from a van or truck through the window of the imam's office while worshipers were gathered for morning prayers, and the vehicle was seen speeding away.

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.

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

The mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. Minnesota has the largest Somali community in the United States, according to the most recent census estimates.

Anti-Muslim incidents rose sharply in the United States in the year after the 2016 USA presidential election, according to a review by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Mohamed Omar, the center's executive director, said at the time that the mosque didn't receive any threats beforehand or claims of responsibility afterward. The video didn't show the blast itself.

Gov. Mark Dayton called the bombing an act of terrorism when he and other officials visited the mosque the day after the explosion.

"That bombing that took place last summer was a tragedy for all Minnesotans", said U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker said, adding that it remains a top priority for law enforcement.

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