Ford County Men Are Suspects In Two Bombings

Delia Watkins
March 15, 2018

Three men from rural central IL have been arrested on gun charges and a connection with the bombing of a Bloomington mosque in August 2017 and an attempted bombing of an IL women's health clinic in November 2017.

Prosecutors filed an affidavit detailing evidence they have against Michael Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, Michael McWhorter, 29, all from Clarence in eastern Ford County.

The three men, and a fourth person, 18-year-old Ellis Mack who was at the scene, is charged with possession of assault weapons from October 2017 to March 2018.

The affidavit describes a tangled, hateful criminal enterprise in which the four men from a rural part of IL, more than 500 miles from Bloomington, Minn., hoarded high-powered guns, made bombs and committed robberies at a drug dealer's house and three Wal-Mart Stores.

According to the affidavit, law enforcement agents have gathered evidence to indicate that 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.

"It's not every day in the United States that a mosque is bombed or a plot to kill Muslims is foiled", he said.

It wasn't clear from the complaint why the men may have targeted a mosque so far from IL.

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Hari is said to have promised to pay Morris and McWhorter $18,0000 for carrying out the attack. The fire was extinguished by the sprinklers.

Federal authorities in Minnesota say the investigation is ongoing, but they believe there is no further threat to the community. An explosive device was thrown through the clinic window but failed to detonate, prosecutors said.

"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 said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Its national office also urged mosques and Islamic centers nationwide to increase security.

Minnesota is home to the biggest Somali community outside of east Africa with estimated 57,000 people residing in the Minneapolis area. "At the same time, we have a lot of concerns, a lot of questions", said Mohamed Omar with Dar Al-Farooq. The FBI had offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the bombing. There has been no news on whether the reward has been paid.

Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, called on Minnesotans to call out anti-Muslim sentiments within the community.

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