By Mohamed Ibrahim and Amy Forliti
scheduled tribe. Paul, Min. (AP) — The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group that officials say was the mastermind of the 2017 Minnesota mosque bombing was sentenced Monday to 53 years in prison over multiple civil rights and hate crimes for assault , which left a community terrified.
Emily Claire Hari, formerly known as Michael Hari and recently said she was transgender, faced a minimum of 30 years in prison for the attack on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense lawyers demanded a minimum, but prosecutors sought a life sentence, saying Hari did not claim responsibility for the attack. The victims also demanded life imprisonment for Hari.
US District Judge Donovan Frank said the evidence clearly showed that Hari intended to “intimidate, intimidate and terrorize people of the Muslim faith” through a sophisticated and pre-planned attack – which he said was the establishment of the United States. Contrary to the belief that all individuals should be capable. Practice your religion freely.
“Diversity is the strength of this country,” Frank said. “Anyone who doesn’t understand this doesn’t understand the constitutional promise of this country that brings so many people here.”
“Anything less than 636 months would amount to disrespect of the law,” the judge said.
Hari made a brief statement before the sentencing on Monday, “How blessed were the first 47 years of my life, I can’t complain about how the last three look… to my blessed and lucky and happy life.” Given, I can ‘ask nothing more from the judge.’
She also said the victims who testified during Monday’s hearing had gone through a “painful ordeal” and wished them “the richest blessings of God in Christ Jesus.”
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.
Dar al-Farooq executive director Mohamed Omar and others made a victim-effect statement on Monday that included asking the judge to impose a life sentence. He described his shock and horror at the attack. Many members were afraid to pray there and some never returned. Mothers were afraid to bring their children to the mosque, which also serves as a charter school and community center.
“I was very scared because I was going to start school in the same building soon and we lived like six blocks away from the mosque,” said Idris Yusuf, who was 9 years old at the time of the bombing. “I was scared because if these people can do this to our mosque, then what is stopping them from even coming to the homes of Muslim people.”
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.
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.”
In their request for a life sentence, prosecutors called for 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.
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.
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.