Convicted Mosque Bomber Seeks Minimum Sentence Because Of Transgender Identity

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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A militia group founder convicted of bombing a Minnesota mosque in 2017 is now claiming he is a transgender woman, and is seeking a lighter sentence because of it.

In December of 2020, a federal grand jury found 50-year-old Michael Hari guilty of taking part in the plot to bomb the Bloomington, Minnesota, Dar al-Farooq (DAF) Islamic Center in August 2017, according to Fox News. Since, Hari has changed his identity to Emily Claire Hari, federal Minnesota assistant public defender Shannon Elkins claimed in recent court documents, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Elkins cited these reasons as to why Hari should be sentenced to only 30 years in prison, the mandatory amount for Hari’s crime, rather than a life sentence. Court documents also claim Hari’s gender dysphoria combined with online anti-Muslim propaganda created an “inner conflict” that led to the attacks, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“She strongly desired making a full transition but knew she would be ostracized from everyone and everything she knew,” Elkins claimed in the court documents obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Thus, as she formed a ragtag group of freedom fighters or militia men and spoke of missions to Cuba and Venezuela, Ms. Hari secretly looked up ‘sex change,’ ‘transgender surgery’ and ‘post-op transgender’ on the internet. As she purchased military fatigues for their ‘missions,’ she also purchased dresses and female clothing for a planned trip to Bangkok, Thailand, for male-to-female surgery.”

“She was living a double life,” Elkins added.

Hari created the militia group called “The White Rabbits” based in Clarence, Illinois, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota claimed. Hari then was able to recruit accomplices Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris into the militia. The trio bombed the DAF Islamic Center on Aug. 5, 2017 at around 5 a.m.

Hari, who was in the driver’s seat of their rented vehicle at the time, told Morris to break a window with a sledgehammer, and throw a container of diesel mixed with gasoline into the office. Then, Hari told McWhorter to light the fuse on a 20-pound black powder pipe bomb and throw it in the window before they sped off, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The mosque had several morning worshipers inside when the pipe bomb exploded. No one was injured or died, but the bomb did cause extensive blast, fire and smoke damage. (RELATED: Gov Declares Minnesota Islamic Center Explosion Was ‘An Act Of Terrorism’)

Elkins contested that Hari is “is not a ‘White Nationalist,’ a ‘Neo Nazi,’ a ‘Skinhead,’ a ‘Boogaloo Boi,’ nor part of the ‘Arian [sic] Brotherhood.’” However, prosecutors believe the bombing “was an act of terror intended to destroy the heart of a community,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Elkins claimed that her client was influenced by “degrading, anti-Muslim, and Islamophobic rhetoric and misinformation has spread throughout the United States over the past several years through social media and the internet.”

“Emily Hari is more than a one-note caricature. She is a complex human being who has been convicted by a jury of her peers. She will stand before this court for sentencing, facing life in prison. She asks the court to consider a sentence that is just and proportionate rather than vindictive or symbolic,” Elkins concluded.

Hari will be sentenced Sept. 13, and wants to be reassigned to a prison matching their new gender identity, Fox News reported.