In connection with the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque, the former head of an Illinois right-wing militia organization was sentenced to 53 years in prison on Monday.
After being found guilty last year on five charges of civil rights and hate crimes, Emily Claire Hari, formerly known as Michael Hari, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors accused Hari, 50, of planning the bombing of the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, on Aug. 5, 2017.
They claimed Hari, Michael McWhorter, and Joe Morris were members of the “White Rabbits,” a militia group that targeted the Mosque because of its Muslim ties.
Hari allegedly built a pipe bomb and leased a pickup truck in Illinois, according to authorities. Then, according to the Justice Department, Hari, McWhorter, and Morris drove the truck from Illinois to Bloomington, stopping to pick up diesel fuel and gasoline, which they combined in a plastic container.
Morris allegedly shattered a window and tossed the plastic container into the mosque, while McWhorter allegedly ignited a fuse and tossed a pipe bomb through the breach. Morris and McWhorter pleaded guilty and testified in Hari’s prosecution as key witnesses.
Although no one was hurt in the attack, religious leaders claimed it caused fear and concern among Minnesota’s Muslim population.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Frank said the high sentence was appropriate since the incident indicated “premeditated and very sophisticated preparation” by Hari to “scare, intimidate, and frighten the Islamic place of worship.”
According to KARE-TV, the sentencing was preceded by nearly two dozen “impact statements” from victims, many of whom were mosque members who told the judge they were still afraid of hate crimes four years after the attack.
“Hari sought to terrorize an entire faith community,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement. “Today’s sentence makes clear that such acts of hate-fueled terror will not be tolerated.
“The Dar al-Farooq community has shown powerful strength and resolve during this case. As demonstrated by this verdict and sentence against Hari, the Justice Department will prosecute hate crimes to the full extent of the law, including those that target places of worship and other religious sites,” she added.