Michael Hari, leader of an anti-government white supremacist militia group and former sheriff’s deputy, has been convicted of hate crime charges after a pipe bomb attack on a Minnesota mosque in 2017, NPR reports. Jurors found Hari guilty on five counts. Hari and two other men — Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter — attacked the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Mn., on Aug. 5, 2017, as several men gathered for morning prayer. According to Morris and McWhorter, who pleaded guilty, Hari, 49, was the mastermind behind the plot. “Michael Hari’s goal in bombing the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center was to spread hatred, instill fear, and threaten the constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion. This act of violence, driven by hatred and ignorance, shook our community,” said U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald.
During the five-week trial, Morris and McWhorter alleged Hari coordinated the plan to rent a truck in Illinois and drive to the Minnesota mosque. He ordered the two men to throw a pipe bomb into the imam’s main office as he waited in the truck. Morris, who described Hari as a father figure, testified that the older man claimed the mosque trained ISIS fighters and that the group was “taking orders from a CIA agent called ‘Congo Joe’ to harass ‘untouchables,’ such as Antifa and billionaire George Soros.” No one was injured in the explosion. Prosecutors said Hari and the others formed an anti-government militia group called the White Rabbits. Hari wrote a manifesto known as “The White Rabbit Handbook” and recorded xenophobic YouTube videos under the handle “Illinois Patriot.”