Apr 12, 2022 - News

Illinois men sentenced to 14 and 16 years for Minnesota mosque bombing

st paul courthouse
Photo: Kerem Yucel / AFP

A federal judge on Tuesday handed down sentences significantly below the mandatory minimum for two Illinois men who bombed a suburban Minneapolis mosque in 2017.

The big picture: The Aug. 5, 2017 explosion at Bloomington's Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center damaged the mosque and stoked fears about anti-Muslim attacks in the Twin Cities and beyond.

  • Imam Mohamed Omar, executive director of the mosque, has called the bombing "one of the most disturbing and horrifying events in the Minnesota faith community's history."

What's happened: Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris, who pleaded guilty to their roles in the bombing in 2019, were granted leniency for their cooperation in helping convict the anti-government militia leader who prosecutors say planned the attack.

  • That leader, Emily Claire Hari, was sentenced to 53 years in prison in September.
  • McWhorter now faces about 16 years in prison and Morris roughly 14, the Associated Press reports.

Behind the sentence: Prosecutors, defense attorneys and local faith leaders had urged U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank to go below the mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years, citing the men's testimony and remorse.

  • "We believe that only through forgiveness can we have any real chance to heal and move forward," Omar wrote in an open letter to the judge.
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