US Illinois man to be sentenced in '17 Minnesota mosque bombing
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The leader of an Illinois anti-government militia group who authorities say masterminded theis to be sentenced Monday for several civil rights and hate crimes in an .
, who was previously known as Michael Hari and , faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison for the attack on Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Defense attorneys are asking for the minimum, but prosecutors are seeking a life sentence, saying Hari hasn’t taken responsibility for the attack.
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The militia leader convicted of masterminding the bombing of a Minnesota mosque is asking a judge to legally acknowledge her transgender identity. Emily Claire Hari was previously known as Michael Hari, who was found guilty last year of civil rights and hate crime charges related to the bombing of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington in August 2017. During the trial, prosecutors said Hari was fueled by a hatred of Muslims when he devised a plan to pipe bomb the building during morning prayers. While no one was hurt in the bombing, it spread fear through the community, prosecutors said.
“This bomb – the Defendant’s bomb – was an act of terror intended to destroy the heart of a community,” prosecutors wrote in papers asking for a life sentence. While no one was physically hurt, prosecutors wrote, “the Defendant irrevocably destroyed the sense of safety and peace that a house of worship is supposed to provide.”
on five counts, including damaging property because of its religious character and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs. She did not testify at trial and it was unknown if she would make a statement at sentencing.
Mohamed Omar, executive director at Dar al-Farooq, said he hopes Hari gets a life sentence to show that white supremacy won't be tolerated and people shouldn't be deprived of freedom to worship. Omar said he and other community members plan to make victim impact statements at the hearing.
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“We just lost a 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 men were gathered at Dar al-Farooq for early morning prayers on Aug. 5, 2017, when a pipe bomb was thrown through the window of an imam’s office. A seven-month investigation led authorities to Clarence, Illinois, a rural community about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of Chicago, where Hari and co-defendants Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris lived.
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that employees working in educational roles throughout the state must be vaccinated. © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich According to Sean Quinton of the Seattle Times, Rolovich told reporters following Thursday's practice that he will comply with the updated guidelines. "I plan on following (Inslee’s) mandate," Rolovich said. "For sure." This doesn't necessarily mean Rolovich will immediately receive one of the available coronavirus vaccines.
Authorities say Hari, 50, led a group called the White Rabbits that included McWhorter, Morris and others and that Hari came up with the plan to attack the mosque. Prosecutors said at trial that she was motivated by hatred for Muslims, citing excerpts from Hari’s manifesto known as The White Rabbit Handbook.
McWhorter and Morris, who portrayed Hari as a father figure,and testified against her. They are awaiting sentencing.
It wasn't initially clear how the White Rabbits became aware of Dar al-Farooq, but the mosque was in headlines in the years before the attack: Some young people from Minnesota who traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State group had worshipped there. Mosque leaders were never accused of any wrongdoing. Hari’s attorneys wrote in court filings that she was a victim of online misinformation about the mosque.
Assistant federal defender Shannon Elkins also said gender dysphoria fueled Hari's “inner conflict,” saying she wanted to transition but knew she would be ostracized, so she formed a “rag-tag group of freedom fighters or militia men” and “secretly looked up ‘sex change,’ ‘transgender surgery,’ and ‘post-op transgender’ on the internet.”
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Prosecutors said gender dysphoria is not an excuse and said using it “to deflect guilt is offensive.”
Hari has raised other issues with the court since she has been in custody. Hours after her conviction, Hari called the Star Tribune and said she was going on a hunger strike, calling the trial a “sham.”
Last week, she sought to delay her sentencing, citing upcoming medical appointments for hormone replacement therapy and to treat what her attorney called a life-threatening allergy, but a judge refused. And before revealing her issues with gender dysphoria, she also sued authorities at the Minnesota jail where she was housed, saying she objected to having a female conduct a pat-down search for religious reasons. That lawsuit was dismissed.
In their request for a life sentence, prosecutors are seeking several sentencing enhancements, arguing the bombing was a hate crime led by Hari. They also say Hari committed obstruction when sheduring her transfer from Illinois to Minnesota for trial in February 2019. Hari denies trying to flee.
Hari, a former sheriff’s deputy and self-described entrepreneur and watermelon farmer, has written self-published books, including essays on religion, and has floated ideas for a border wall with Mexico. She gained attention on the “Dr. Phil” talk show after she fled to the South American nation of Belize in the early 2000s during a custody dispute. She was convicted of child abduction and sentenced to probation.
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Hari also sued the federal government, accusing it of cutting in on her food-safety business.
Before her 2018 arrest in the mosque bombing, she used the screen name “Illinois Patriot” to post more than a dozen videos to YouTube, most of them anti-government monologues. In one video just days before her arrest, Hari said FBI and local law enforcement were terrorizing Clarence and she asked “freedom-loving people everywhere to come and help us.”
Hari, McWhorter and Morris were also charged in a failed November 2017 attack on an abortion clinic in Champaign, Illinois. Plea agreements for McWhorter and Morris say the men participated in an armed home invasion in Indiana, and the armed robberies or attempted armed robberies of two Walmart stores in Illinois.
Algeria daily slammed over edited picture of Great Mosque .
A French-language newspaper in Algeria faced angry criticism on Monday for publishing a photo altered to remove the minaret of Algiers' Grand Mosque. But the image had been altered to remove the imposing image of the minaret of the Grand Mosque that towered in the background. The move sparked angry comments on social media and from officials.The ministry of communications denounced the newspaper branding the altered picture "a strange and unjustified" action on the part of El Watan.The ministry of religious affairs said also denounced a "violation" and said El Watan should be taken to court and face "administrative measures".