Three Illinois men have been arrested and charged in connection with the August bombing of a mosque in a Minneapolis suburb, federal officials said Tuesday.
The men — identified as Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; and Michael McWhorter, 29 — also face charges of possession of a machine gun and are suspects in the attempted bombing of an Illinois abortion clinic this past November, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield, Ill.
A fourth man, 18-year-old Ellis Mack, also faces the gun charge, but he was not identified as a suspect bombing or attempted bombing. All four men are from Clarence, a rural community 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana.
The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., was bombed just before morning prayers on Aug. 5, causing extensive damage although no one was injured or killed.
According to an affidavit obtained by Fox 9, McWhorter allegedly told an FBI 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. He said they wanted to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the United States and “scare them out of the country,” according notes taken by the FBI.
It wasn’t clear from the complaint why the men may have targeted a mosque so far from Illinois.
Morris told one informant that Hari had promised to pay him and McWhorter $18,000 for participating in the mosque bombing, according to the complain