Three anti-government activists from rural Illinois have been arrested for blowing up a mosque in Minnesota and attempting to bomb a women’s health facility.
Michael Hari, Joe Morris, and Michael McWhorter are part of a group called “White Rabbit Three Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters Militia,” or “White Rabbit” for short. The name is similar to other anti-government and pro-gun militia groups, including the one that blew up a replica mosque in North Dakota.
The men told authorities that they wanted to “scare” Muslims out of the country, and thought bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center right after a prayer service was the right way to go about it.
A complaint said a tip in December led authorities to investigate the three men, after a person sent the local sheriff photos of guns and bomb-making material inside Hari’s parents’ home, where Hari often stayed. In January, a second informant told authorities that the three men had carried out the mosque bombing and the failed clinic bombing, according to the complaint.
McWhorter allegedly told an FBI agent during an interview that the three rented a pickup in Champaign and drove more than 500 miles (805 kilometers) to Minnesota with a plan to bomb the mosque, according to a criminal complaint. He said they wanted to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the United States and “scare them out of the country,” according notes taken by the FBI.
McWhorter also allegedly admitted that the three men tried to bomb the abortion clinic on Nov. 7, again renting a truck to carry out the attack. McWhorter described a PVC pipe bomb and said Morris broke a window and threw it in, where it failed to go off, according to the complaint.
The complaint also said nothing about a possible motivation for the clinic attack.
The leader of this group, Hari, is a former sheriff’s deputy and member of the Old German Baptist Brethran, a Christian denomination that wear plain clothes similar to the Amish people. He unsuccessfully ran for county sheriff as a libertarian and owned a gun store. I’ll let you guess about the “motivation” for them to try to bomb an abortion clinic.
He made national headlines in 2005 and 2006 when he fled to Mennonite communities in Mexico and Belize during a custody dispute with his ex-wife, taking his two young daughters with him. The story was featured on several episodes of the “Dr. Phil Show,” and he eventually returned to the U.S. with his daughters. The reunion and an interview featuring Hari and his ex-wife was recorded by “Dr. Phil.”
A jury found him guilty of child abduction in 2006, according to The News-Gazette. He faced up to 3 years in prison, and prosecutors asked for a sentence of 6 months, but he received only 30 months of probation.
Apparently, Hari’s trouble with the law was just beginning when he was convicted of child abduction.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton already called the bombing an “act of terrorism” when he visited the mosque after the explosion. But it’ll be up to the courts to decide if these men really are terrorists deserving of the appropriate punishment.
(Screenshot via YouTube)