Illinois men accused of bombing mosque

CHICAGO (AP) — Three Illinois men are accused of bombing a mosque in suburban Minneapolis in an attempt to scare Muslims into leaving the United States, authorities said.

The men allegedly traveled some 500 miles (805 kilometers) from a rural farming community to carry out the Aug. 5 attack, which caused a damaging fire at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. No one was hurt.

The men are also suspected in the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic on Nov. 7 in Champaign, about 140 miles south of Chicago, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield.

Investigators are now turning to the suspects’ backgrounds to learn more about their possible affiliations and motivations.

One of the men, 47-year-old Michael B. Hari, filed a federal lawsuit last month in central Illinois, naming the U.S. secretaries of agriculture and health and human services as defendants. It accuses their departments of violating his constitutional rights by doing the food-safety certification work that his firm, Equicert, does.

“The people of the United States have rejected the Marxist doctrine that the government shall own the means of production,” he wrote, according to the court document. He requested a court order barring federal officials from interfering with his business.

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. Hari drew up the proposal after launching a security company, Crisis Resolution Security Services, the newspaper said.

The other two men charged in the mosque bombing were identified as Joe Morris, 22, and Michael McWhorter, 29. All three are from Clarence, a community of less than 100 people some 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Champaign. A fourth man was charged with a gun offense, but he was not identified as a suspect in the attack on the mosque or the clinic.