MINNESOTA, USA - Two Illinois men who helped bomb a Minnesota mosque in 2017 were sentenced Tuesday to about 16 years and roughly 14 years in prison – far below the 35-year mandatory minimum that each man faced – after victims and prosecutors asked for leniency because the men cooperated and testified against the mastermind of the attack.

Michael McWhorter, 33, was sentenced to just under 16 years in United States prison and Joe Morris, 26, was sentenced to about 14 years. Both testified in the 2020 trial against Emily Claire Hari, who was known as Michael Hari at the time of the attack, the leader of a small Illinois militia group called the “White Rabbits”. Hari was convicted in December, 2020 and sentenced last year to 53 years in prison for the attack on Dar Al-Farooq Center, a mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.

US District Judge Donovan Frank said Tuesday that the men’s “substantial assistance” allowed him to issue penalties below the statutory minimums called for in the domestic terror case,

the Star Tribune reported. No one was hurt in the August 5, 2017 explosion after a pipe bomb detonated in the imam’s office as worshippers gathered for early morning prayers, but community members were shaken by the incident and the mosque’s executive director testified at Hari’s trial that it has led to diminished attendance due to fear.

McWhorter allegedly told an FBI agent the attack was aimed at Muslims in the US in an effort to “scare them out of the country”, according to notes taken by the FBI.