Ford County men arrested, charged with possession of machine gun


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

Federal authorities say the men were arrested Tuesday in IL on separate gun charges and that they were suspects in the mosque bombing.

- Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community outside of east Africa, and on Tuesday, they praised the FBI's announcement that they arrested several people in connection with the explosion at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in August.

The three men, plus a fourth who was arrested on the gun charge, are from Clarence, a small unincorporated town in eastern Ford County.

According to an official statement made by the U.S. Attorney's Office in IL, these men are also suspects in the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic. The three men were the same trio charged with the Bloomington arson, plus Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community about 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana.

One of the men, Michael B. Hari, 47, described in an April 2017 Chicago Tribune article how he drafted a $10 billion plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, citing US President Donald Trump's call for such a wall.

McWhorter told investigators that it was Hari's idea to attack the mosque. On Jan. 27, law enforcement received information from a confidential source indicating that McWhorter, Morris and Hari were responsible for the bombing.

Authorities launched an investigation against the three men after a person sent the local police force photos of guns and bomb-making material inside Hari's parents' home, where he often stayed as his own home had no running water or electricity. An explosive device was thrown through the clinic window but failed to detonate, prosecutors said.

A PVC pipe bomb was thrown through the mosque window just before morning prayers, causing a fire that left extensive damage but no injuries, prosecutors said.

The complaint alleges that the men carried out the attack, because they wanted to "scare [Muslims] out of the country". The truck then sped away, the affidavit said.

Executive director Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the arrests are "definitely a relief".

The Islamic Center primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area and houses a mosque and religious school for children. "At the same time, we have a lot of concerns, a lot of questions", said Mohamed Omar with Dar Al-Farooq.