Emily Claire Hari, 50, f/k/a Michael Hari, was sentenced to life in prison for the Aug. 5, 2017, bombing of the Dar al-Farooq (DAF) Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
On Dec. 9, 2020, following a five-week trial, Hari was convicted by a federal jury on all five counts of the indictment, including intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious property because of the religious character of that property; intentionally obstructing and attempting to obstruct, by force and the threat of force, the free exercise of religious beliefs; conspiracy to commit federal felonies by means of fire and explosives; carrying and using a destructive device during and in relation to crimes of violence; and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
In handing down the sentence, United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank described the attack orchestrated by Hari as a highly sophisticated and premeditated act of domestic terrorism.
“Hari sought to terrorize an entire faith community. Today’s sentence makes clear that such acts of hate-fueled terror will not be tolerated,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The Dar al-Farooq community has shown powerful strength and resolve during this case. As demonstrated by this verdict and sentence against Hari, the Justice Department will prosecute hate crimes to the full extent of the law, including those that target places of worship and other religious sites.”
“Today, the person responsible for the 2017 bombing of the Dar al-Farooq mosque has been sentenced to 53 years in prison,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk for the District of Minnesota. “Through our system of justice, the Minnesota community has collectively condemned this hate-fueled attack and decisively upheld every individual’s constitutional right to live and worship free from violence and intimidation. As we mark the closing of a painful chapter, it is my hope that the members of Dar al-Farooq and the broader faith community impacted by this attack will continue to heal and regain a sense of safety and security.”
“Acts of violence, motivated by hatred toward individuals simply based on their faith, will not be tolerated by the FBI or our Minnesota law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office. “Violent criminals such as those responsible for this cowardly act, will be held accountable for their hate crimes and disgraceful attempts at intimidation. This sentence demonstrates our continued commitment to the FBI’s core mission – to defend all communities and to protect the rights of all Americans.”
As proven at trial, during the summer of 2017, Hari established a terrorist militia group called “The White Rabbits” in Clarence, Illinois. Hari recruited co-defendants Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris to join the militia, which Hari outfitted with paramilitary equipment and assault rifles. On Aug. 4 and 5, 2017, Hari, McWhorter and Morris drove in a rented pickup truck from Illinois to Bloomington, Minnesota, to bomb the DAF Islamic Center. Hari targeted DAF specifically to terrorize Muslims into believing they are not welcome in the United States and should leave the country.
As proven at trial, Hari, McWhorter, and Morris arrived at DAF on Aug. 5, 2017, at approximately 5:00 a.m. At Hari’s direction, Morris used a sledgehammer to break the window of the Imam’s office at DAF and threw a plastic container with a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline into the office. Then, also at Hari’s direction, McWhorter lit the fuse on a 20-pound black powder pipe bomb and threw it through the broken window. McWhorter and Morris ran back to the truck where Hari was waiting in the driver’s seat. The three men sped away from the building and drove back to Illinois. When the pipe bomb exploded, the blast caused extensive damage to the Imam’s office. It also ignited the gasoline and diesel mixture, causing extensive fire and smoke damage. At the time of the bombing, several worshipers were gathered in the mosque for morning prayers.
On Jan. 24, 2019, McWhorter and Morris pleaded guilty to their roles in the bombing. Their sentencing hearings are yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI’s Minneapolis and Springfield Divisions with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bloomington Police Department and the Bloomington Fire Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison Ethen and Trial Attorney Timothy Visser of the Civil Rights Division.