Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Ford County men arrested, charged with possession of machine gun

Ford County men arrested, charged with possession of machine gun

According to a statement by the US attorney's office in Springfield, on Tuesday morning, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested four rural east central IL men on charges of possession of a machine gun. McWhorter will make his initial appearance in connection with the attempted IL bombing at a later date.

Months after submitting his bid, Hari, a former cop, allegedly bombed the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., as its congregants gathered for morning prayer, according to federal authorities.

Prosecutors filed an affidavit detailing evidence they have against Michael Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, Michael McWhorter, 29, all from Clarence in eastern Ford County.

The Dar Al-Farooq mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. No one was hurt or killed in the August blast. 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.

They were arrested after tipsters leaked photos of gun and bomb-making material stashed in the home of Hari's parents, and revealed that the three men carried out both bombings, documents reveal. According to the court affidavit, Hari often stays at his parents' home because his home has no running water or electricity. The pipe bomb, constructed of polyvinyl chloride, known as "PVC", exploded, causing extensive damage.

"We would look at the wall as not just a physical barrier to immigration but also as a symbol of the American determination to defend our culture, our language, our heritage, from any outsiders", said Hari.

McWhorter originally denied having any knowledge of the bombing, but according to the complaint, he later admitted that each person had a role in the mosque bombing with Hari as the driver, Morris smashing the window, and McWhorter throwing the bomb.

According to the affidavit, Mr. McWhorter told a law enforcement official that during the attempted bombing at the Women's Heath Practice in Champaign, Ill., Mr. Morris had been dropped off at the clinic in the middle of the night, smashed the clinic window and thrown an explosive device inside.

Later Tuesday, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that there were still many questions that need answering.

Mohamed Omar, executive director of the Muslim center serving Somalis, stated that at the time of the incident, "the mosque didn't receive any threats beforehand or claims of responsibility afterward".

"That bombing that took place last summer has been a tragedy for all Minnesotans", said Greg Brooker, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota.

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