3 Illinois men indicted for connection with DAF explosion
Three Illinois men accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque last year were indicted Thursday in federal court.
All three men were indicted for civil rights and hate crime violations.
Michael Hari, 47; Michael McWhorter, 29 and Joe Morris, 22, were charged in connection with an explosion at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center (DAF) in Bloomington, Minnesota on Aug. 5, 2017.
All three men were previously named in a criminal complaint filed on March 13 of 2018 in the District of Minnesota, charged with arson.
All three are currently being held in custody in Urbana Ill. on separate charges.
The indictment alleges that, in the early morning of Aug. 5, 2017, Morris broke a window at DAF and threw a plastic container containing a diesel fuel and gasoline mixture into the building.
McWhorter allegedly lit the fuse and threw a pipe bomb in the broken window.
According to the court documents, the window that was broken was part of the Imam’s office.
When the pipe bomb exploded, it ignited the mixture in the plastic container, causing extensive damage in the office.
McWhorter and Morris allegedly returned to the pick-up truck, where Hari was waiting, and drove back to Illinois.
“These three defendants allegedly plotted and executed a plan designed specifically to spread fear and threaten a fundamental right afforded to all, the freedom of religion,” said U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald in a press release. “In spite of the destructive and violent act alleged in the indictment, our communities have found strength in taking a unified stand against the attack. My office and our law enforcement partners are committed to upholding the laws that protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
The charges also allege the three men targeted the mosque with an intent to damage it because of its religious character and with an intent to obstruct Muslims from worshipping there.
DAF is both a religious center and a religious school for children.
The FBI is leading the investigation.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.