Monday, July 16, 2018
Middle East

Three men charged with 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing

Women pray during rally in Los Angeles against Trump's anti-Muslim policies, 15 October 2017 (AFP)

Three men from a rural Illinois community were arrested on Tuesday and charged in the 2017 bombing of a mosque outside Minneapolis and the attempted bombing of an Illinois abortion clinic, US prosecutors said.

Michael Mcwhorter, 29, Joe Morris, 22, and Michael Hari, 47, were accused of carrying out a pipe bomb attack on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on 5 August that damaged the building but caused no injuries, according to a statement from the Minnesota US Attorney's Office.

The suspects will be prosecuted "for using an explosive device to maliciously destroy and damage the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center," the US attorney's office said in a statement. The three men are charged with one count of arson each.

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The statement did not include hate crime or terrorism charges.

The mosque mainly serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area, home to the largest Somali community in the United States.

Police in Bloomington were called in the early morning of 5 August 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.

President Donald Trump was criticised last year for his failure to condemn the bomb attack.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton had called the incident an "act of terrorism".

And Muslim US Congressman Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, blamed the attack on the rise of hatred in America.

"Hate is becoming too prevalent in our society," the lawmaker said in a statement on 6 August. "It spreads on social media and infects our discourse. We must counter it with love and values we hold so dear."

The three suspects were arrested by FBI agents in Illinois and also charged with possession of assault rifles, which are classified as machine guns, and an attempted bombing of the Women’s Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois on 7 November, according to a statement from the Illinois US Attorney's Office in Springfield.

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

Original Article

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