The man who was the mastermind behind the 2017 bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Illinois now identifies as woman and says a combination of gender dysphoria and reading conservative blogs led to the attack.
Emily Claire Hari — previously known as Michael Hari — is asking a judge to legally acknowledge her transgender identity. Hari, 50, says a combination of gender dysphoria and right-wing misinformation fueled her “inner conflict” during the time that she was convicted of bombing Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington.
“She strongly desired making a full transition but knew she would be ostracized from everyone and everything she knew,” Hari’s defense attorney, Shannon Elkins, wrote in court documents. “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.”…
Hari continues to deny taking part in the bombing of which she’s been convicted.
Still, Elkins said, at the time of the attack, Hari was influenced by misinformation and conspiracies published by right-wing blogs like Breitbart, World Net Daily and Jihad Watch, and amplified by unnamed elected officials, according to court documents.
Not coincidentally, this plea for leniency comes about two weeks before Hari is expected to receive a 30-year sentence, at a minimum. However, Hari could receive of sentence of life in prison. That’s clearly what this plea is hoping to avoid.
Hari was convicted last December (8 months ago) and at the time I don’t think there had been any mention of gender dysphoria. Hari wrote a manifesto of his views and recruited the two other men who helped carry out the attack. They both later pleaded guilty and testified that Hari was the mastermind who had orchestrated everything, including driving the getaway vehicle. This is from a DOJ press release at the time of Hari’s conviction:
As proven at trial, during the summer of 2017, HARI established a terrorist militia group called “The White Rabbits” in Clarence, Illinois. HARI recruited co-defendants Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris to join the militia, which he outfitted with paramilitary equipment and assault rifles. On August 4 and 5, 2017, HARI, McWhorter, and Morris drove in a rented pickup truck from Illinois to Bloomington, Minnesota, to bomb the DAF Islamic Center. HARI targeted DAF to terrorize Muslims into believing they are not welcome in the United States and should leave the country.
As proven at trial, HARI, McWhorter, and Morris arrived at DAF on August 5, 2017, at approximately 5:00 a.m. At HARI’s direction, Morris used a sledgehammer to break the window of the Imam’s office at DAF, and he threw a plastic container with a mixture of diesel fuel and gasoline into the office. Also at HARI’s direction, McWhorter then lit the fuse on a 20-pound black powder pipe bomb and threw it through the broken window. McWhorter and Morris ran back to the truck, where HARI was waiting in the driver’s seat. The three men sped away from the building and drove back to Illinois. When the pipe bomb exploded, the blast caused extensive damage to the Imam’s office. It also ignited the gasoline and diesel mixture, causing extensive fire and smoke damage. At the time of the bombing, several worshipers were gathered in the mosque for morning prayers.
Hari isn’t the first criminal to claim they’ve turned over a new leaf between conviction and sentencing. Adding in a transgender identity is a new twist but the fact remains that the attack can’t be blamed on dysphoria or right-wing blogs. This was Hari’s idea and regardless of what pronoun is used, Hari is still responsible for it. The fact that, according to the Star Tribune, Hari denies taking part in the bombing will hopefully say more to the judge than the change of identity. The sentencing will take place on Sep. 13.