Three man suspected of pipe bombing mosque in Bloomington now facing hate crime charges

The three defendants allegedly targeted the location to make Muslims feel frightened

Edgar Linares
June 21, 2018 - 3:58 pm

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The three men from Illinois accused of bombing a Bloomington mosque last summer have been indicted on federal hate crime charges. 

According to authorities, on Aug. 5 of last year,  the men allegedly used a sledgehammer to smash in a window at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington and then threw in a pipe bomb that exploded during the morning prayer.

While no one was hurt, the explosion left thousands of dollars in damage.

According to the United States Attorney's Office, 47-year-old Michael Hari, 29-year-old Michael McWhorter and 23-year-old Joe Morris have been indicted by a grand jury on federal civil rights and hate crime violations.

The three were previously named in a criminal complaint filed last March in Minnesota, charging them with arson. The men are currently being held in custody in Urbana, Illinois, on separate charges.

In the indictment, the United States Attorney office alleges that the defendants targeted the location for the purpose of making Muslims "feel frightened and intimidated by interfering with their free exercise of religious liberty."

“Last year's bombing was more than just an attack against a single structure, it was an attack on the very religious freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” said Jill Sanborn, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division. “The ability to worship how and where we want is a cornerstone of our country's foundation, and the FBI stands ready to work with the community and our law enforcement partners whenever those freedoms are attacked.”