Saturday, September 25, 2021

Militia leader sentenced in Minnesota mosque bombing

scheduled tribe. Paul, Min. (AP) — The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group, which officials say mastermind the 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing, was sentenced Monday for multiple civil rights and hate crimes in an attack that terrorized a community Have to know

Emily Claire Hari, formerly known as Michael Hari and recently said she was transgender, faces a minimum of 30 years in prison for the attack on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense lawyers are seeking a minimum, but prosecutors are seeking a life sentence, saying Hari has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

“This bomb – the defendant’s bomb – was an act of terror intended to destroy the heart of a community,” prosecutors wrote in the papers seeking a life sentence. While no one was physically hurt, prosecutors wrote, “the defendant irreparably destroyed the sense of security and peace that a house of worship should provide.”

Hari was convicted in December on five counts, including causing damage to property because of his religious character and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs. She did not testify at trial and it was unknown whether she would make a statement on sentencing.

Mohamed Omar, executive director of Dar al-Farooq, said he hoped Hari would receive a life sentence for showing that white supremacy was not tolerated and that people should not be denied the freedom to worship. Omar said he and other members of the community are planning to make a victim impact statement during the hearing.

“We have lost our sense of security,” Omar said, adding that Hari’s attack made the mosque a “hot spot” for harassment or intimidation and made people uncomfortable to worship. “It became a struggle for us.”

Several people gathered in Dar al-Farooq for morning prayers on August 5, 2017, when a pipe bomb was hurled through the window of an imam’s office. A seven-month investigation led officers to Clarence, Illinois, a rural community 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of Chicago where Hari and co-defendants Michael McHorter and Joe Morris lived.

Officials say Hari, 50, led a group called the White Rabbits that included McHorter, Morris and others and that Hari planned to attack the mosque. Prosecutors said at trial that she was motivated by hatred of Muslims, citing passages from Hari’s manifesto called The White Rabbit Handbook.

McHorter and Morris, who portrayed Hari as a father figure, each pleaded guilty to five counts and testified against him. They await punishment.

It was initially unclear how the White Rabbits found out about Dar al-Farooq, but in the years before the attack the mosque was in the spotlight: some Minnesota youth who had gone to Syria to join the Islamic State group, He worshiped there. The leaders of the mosque were never accused of any wrongdoing. Hari’s lawyers wrote in court filings that she had been a victim of online misinformation about the mosque.

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Assistant Confederate Guard Shannon Elkins also said that gender dysphoria fueled Hari’s “internal conflict”, adding that she wanted to transition but knew she would be ostracized, so she called “freedom fighters or militia men”. A rag-tag group of” and “secretly watched” sex change, ‘transgender surgery’ and ‘post-op transgender’ on the Internet.

Prosecutors said gender dysphoria is not an excuse and said using it “is offensive to perpetrate crime.”

Hari has also raised other issues in the court since his detention. Hours after her conviction, Hari called the Star Tribune and said she was going on a hunger strike, calling the trial a “sham”.

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Last week, she sought to delay her sentence, citing upcoming medical appointments for hormone replacement therapy and treatment for what her lawyer called a life-threatening allergy, but a judge refused. And before revealing her issues with gender dysphoria, she also sued officials at the Minnesota prison where she was held, saying she objected to a woman’s conduct for religious reasons. That suit was dismissed.

In their request for life imprisonment, prosecutors are seeking multiple sentence enhancements, arguing that the bombing was a hate crime led by Hari. They also say that Hari interrupted when he tried to escape from custody during his transfer from Illinois to Minnesota for trial in February 2019. Hari refused to try to escape.

Hari, a former sheriff’s deputy and self-described entrepreneur and watermelon farmer, has written self-published books, including essays on religion, and devised ideas for a border wall with Mexico. She played the “Dr. Phil” talk show after she fled the South American country of Belize during a custody dispute in the early 2000s. He was convicted of child abduction and sentenced to probation.

Hari also sued the federal government, accusing it of cutting into its food-safety business.

Before his arrest in the 2018 mosque bombings, he used the screen name “Illinois Patriot” to post more than a dozen videos on YouTube, most of which were anti-government monologues. In a video a few days before his arrest, Hari said the FBI and local law enforcement were terrorizing Clarence and that he “told freedom-loving people everywhere to come and help us.”

Hari, McHorter and Morris were also charged with a failed attack on an abortion clinic in Champagne, Illinois, in November 2017. Plea agreements for McHorter and Morris state that the men participated in an armed home invasion in Indiana, and attempted armed robbery or armed robberies of two Walmart stores in Illinois.

Militia leader sentenced in Minnesota mosque bombing
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