The mastermind behind the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque was sentenced to 53 years on Tuesday for his role in the racist attack.
On August 5th, 2017, several men were gathered at Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center for early morning prayers when a pipe bomb was thrown through the window of an imam’s office. While no one was hurt, a lengthy investigation led authorities to eventually arrest Michael Hari, 49, of Clarence, Illinois. That same year, Hari allegedly attempted to carry out a bombing on an women's health clinic but failed.
Hari pleaded not guilty to the multiple charges he was faced with, but was found guilty on Monday and given 23 years greater than the 30 year mandatory minimum sentence defense attorneys were seeking, but less than the life sentence prosecution had asked for.
In August of this year, it was revealed that Hari began identifying as a transwoman, and claimed his gender dysphoria had led him to commit the atrocious crime against the Muslim community.
“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. “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.”
Last week, Hari's lawyers requested the sentencing be postponed so he could attend a medical appointment and seek hormone replacement therapy, but the request was denied. Instead, the Court granted Hari permission to stay at the holding facility after sentencing was complete so he could attend his appointment.
Hari began identifying as "Emily Claire" in December of 2020, and demanded the court legally recognize his transgender identity. At the sentencing, Hari once again requested he be sent to a women's facility.
U.S District Judge Donovan Frank announced that he was prepared to recommend Hari to a women's facility, but that the Bureau of Prisons would ultimately decide.
The state of Minnesota allows men who identify as women to be housed in women's penitentiaries after their cases are reviewed by a Transgender Committee at the Department of Corrections.
Earlier this year, California passed a broad-stroke bill allowing prisoners to request transfer on the basis of self-declared trans identity. Almost immediately, over 260 male inmates, some of which may have a history of violence against women, filed for transfer to women's facilities. According to women's rights advocates, this move has allegedly prompted women's penitentiaries to begin stocking up on condoms and Plan-B.