"We are concerned today that we believe it is possible that one of our neighbors of our communities may have put the target on this mosque, forcing individuals who live in IL to decide to attack a mosque in Minnesota", Hussein said.
Three men from rural central IL have been arrested on gun charges and a connection with the bombing of a Bloomington mosque in August 2017 and an attempted bombing of an IL women's health clinic in November 2017. But federal authorities in Minnesota charged them with additional counts of arson for their alleged role in the August 5 explosion at the mosque.
The three men, plus a fourth who was arrested on the gun charge, are from Clarence, a small unincorporated town in eastern Ford County.
The men arrested and charged are: Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and, Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community approximately 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, according to information from the Department of Justice, United States Attorney John E. Childress, Central District of IL.
Hari described in an April 2017 Chicago Tribune article how he drafted a $10 billion plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, citing President Donald Trump's call for such a barrier.
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Hari is said to have promised to pay Morris and McWhorter $18,0000 for carrying out the attack. The tip contained photos of guns and bomb making material in Hari's parent's house where he usually stayed.
A PVC pipe bomb was thrown through the mosque window just before morning prayers, causing a fire that left extensive damage but no injuries, prosecutors said. He said they wanted to let Muslims know they are not welcome in the United States and "scare them out of the country", according to notes taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Hari allegedly told McWhorter's brother when he dropped off the guns, "The police will want to come talk to me; can I keep them here until I speak to them?" said the affidavit.
The complaint said nothing about a possible motivation for the clinic attack.
Executive director Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the arrests are "definitely a relief". The mosque's executive director, Mohamed Omar, said the vehicle immediately sped away. The FBI had offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the bombing. Mosque leaders later released security video from inside the mosque that caught the moments before the explosion, and some smoke and flying debris.