(Photo: Aaron Lavinsky / AP)

Over 100 Clergy Sign Letter in solidarity, asking judge for mercy for individuals involved in bombing of Dar Al Farooq

Minnesota Clergy members and faith leaders wishing to sign, may do so here.

A press conference will take place before the hearing at 8am, Tuesday, April 12th, outside the Federal Courthouse in Saint Paul.

April 11th, 2022

The Honorable Donovan W. Frank 316 Robert St N Ste 724,
Saint Paul, MN 55101

Dear Sir,

We are writing to you as leaders from Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, the Muslim community, and other faith communities in Minnesota, to ask that the court exercise compassion and grant a sentence reduction to the plaintiffs in the case of Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris.

In the early morning of Aug. 5, 2017, the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota was bombed by three individuals. Emily Claire Hari, formerly known as Michael Hari, Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris sought to terrorize an entire faith community. This bombing, without a doubt, is one of the most disturbing and horrifying events in the Minnesota faith community’s history. Not only was it traumatic for the victims, Dar al-Farooq’s members, and staff, but it showed a level of intolerance that caused ripple effects throughout our state’s congregations (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and others).

Our community continues to digest and recover from this instance of hate, but we will not let it change our outlook for the future. That is why we are writing this letter to the court, to ask Your Honor to grant clemency towards Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris. While Emily Hari has shown zero remorse, Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris have taken accountability for their actions and have expressed profound regret, as well as a marked understanding of how they were able to become radicalized to the point of committing this heinous crime. We believe that this is not a hollow attempt to accept responsibility in exchange for a lighter sentence but a deeper change in their being after coming out from under the influence of an evil manipulator.

The harm that was done is real, the crime that was committed is real, the horror of what happened that day is real, but what’s also real is our opportunity to offer real forgiveness, and lead by example. We believe that only through forgiveness can we have any real chance to heal and move forward. As leaders of the faith community, we feel morally compelled at this moment to use our voice and convey the voices of the community members we serve. We urge the courts to view justice through the lens of what will not only best serve society as a whole, but what will best represent the interests and needs of the communities most affected. The attack on August 5, 2017, was an attack on a sacred space, a space of worship, a space of religious values, a space where one seeks out their higher moral self. While we may diverge on theological points, mercy, forgiveness, and the opportunity for redemption is shared by every faith.

Minnesota’s faith-based communities have stood by the Dar Al-Farooq and Muslim community in support and solidarity after the bombing took place as we called for accountability and justice. Minnesota’s faith-based communities stand once again by the Dar Al-Farooq and Muslim community in support and solidarity as we call today for justice that respects the values that were targeted on August 5, 2017 and restores the humanity Emily Hari sought to demonize and destroy.

At a moment when our country has been torn in half by the continuous sorting of human beings into categories of evil and hero, worthy and deplorable, good soul and bad soul, bad communities, and good communities, we find the need for the court to exercise a nuanced and restorative approach to justice in this case more necessary. Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris did something horrible, heinous, and the damage of their actions might not heal itself in their lifetimes. However, Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris are two young men whose self and souls extend well beyond the short time in their life they temporarily were plunged downwards into the darkness of Emily Hari’s world. They have families, they have futures, they have a message that our country and other young men susceptible to hate desperately to need to hear. They deserve forgiveness.


  1. Imam Mohamed Omar
    Dar Alfarooq Islamic Center
  2. Imam Asad Zaman
    Executive Director. Muslim American Society of Minnesota
  3. Reverend Dr. Curtiss DeYoung
    CEO. Minnesota Council of Churches
  4. Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker Mount Zion Temple
  5. Bishop Ann Svennungsen
    Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  6. Bishop Patricia Lull
    Saint Paul Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  7. Presiding Pastor Shari Prestemon
  8. Bishop David Bard
    Minnesota Conference of The United Methodist Church
  9. Bishop Bill Tesch
    Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  10. Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman Temple Israel
  11. Abdulahi Farah
    Lead Organizer. Muslim Coalition
  1. Pastor James Erlandson
    Lutheran Church of the Redeemer
  2. Pastor Arthur Murray
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  3. Rabbi Arielle Lekach-Rosenberg Shir Tikvah
  4. Presiding Elder Stacey L. Smith MCC, President of the Board
  5. Elona Street-Stewart
    Synod Executive. Synod of Lakes and Prairies, PCUSA
  6. Pastor Kathy Redig AllAreOne Catholic church
  7. Pastor Jane McBride
    First Congregational Church of MN, United Church of Christ
  8. Reverend Natalia Terfa
    ELCA, Prince of Peace Brooklyn Park

20.Reverend Lauren Davis First UCC

  1. Pastor Hans Jorgensen St Timothy Lutheran
  2. Minister Kirsten Kessel
    First Lutheran Church of Crystal
  3. Pastor Liesl Spitz
    St Timothy Lutheran Church
  4. Johanna Osman
    Executive Director. Sakan Community Resource
  5. Senior Pastor John Nelson Gethsemane Lutheran Church

26.Sister Barbara Thomalla

27. Reverend Roberta Haskin Unitarian Universalist Assn

28.Joel Abrahamson
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

29.Pastor Christa Forsythe Immanuel Lutheran Church

30.Reverend Allan Negstad St. James Lutheran

  1. Reverend Peter Weston Miller Trinity Lutheran
  2. Pastor Andrew Davis Union Presbyterian
  3. Pastor Becky Swanson
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  4. Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman
    Macalester College Center for Religious and Spiritual Life
  5. Pastor Kate Reuer Welton
    Lutheran Campus Ministry Twin Cities
  6. Pastor Linidsay Jacaruso
    First Presbyterian Church of Mankato
  7. Executive Director Karen Wills
    MN Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance

38.Chaplain Grady St. Dennis Gustavus Adolphus College

39. Isaiah Team Member David Hahn
St Joan of Arc Community in South Minneapolis

40.Rabbi Alexander Davis Beth El Synagogue

  1. Lead Pastor Peter Christ
    Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
  2. Pastor Korla Masters
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  3. Clergy Nathan Roberts
    United Church of Christ Minnesota
  4. Deacon Lauren Morse-Wendt Edina Community Lutheran Church
  5. Senior Pastor Bradley Froslee St. Michael’s Lutheran church

46.Co-Pastor T. Michael Rock Robbinsdale Parkway UCC

47. Senior Pastor Pamela Fickenscher St. John’s Lutheran Church

48.Julica Hermann de la Fuente
Director of Liberation and Transformation Ministries. First Universalist Church of Minneapolis

49.Teaching Pastor Todd Bratulich Upper Room Community

50.Minister Laura Thompson MN Valley UU Fellowship

  1. Pastor Jeffrey Sartain
    Edina Community Lutheran Church
  2. Reverend Dr. Theresa Mason United Methodist Church
  3. Rabbi Michael Latz
  1. Senior Minister Jennifer Crow First Universalist Church
  2. Rabbi Sharon Stiefel Mayim Rabim
  3. Anantanand Rambachan
    Emeritus Professor of Religion, Saint Olaf College
  4. Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky
  5. Reverend Jeffrey Hansen
  6. Reverend Mark Hanson

60. Reverend Hayley Grey 61. Reverend Thomas Duke 62.Reverend Kjell Ferris

63. Reverend Julia Nerbonne

64. Lead Pastor Rory Philstrom Christ the King Lutheran Church

65. Pastoral Associate Anne Attea Church of the Ascension

66.Reverend Andrea Johnson MN Valley UU Fellowship

67. Rabbi Emeritus Norman Cohen Bet Shalom Congregation

68.Assistant Minister Sara Goodman White Bear UU Church

69. Zan Christ Multifaith Practitioner

  1. Pastor Eric Hoffer Salem Lutheran (North Minneapolis)
  2. Pastor John Marboe Zion Lutheran Church
  3. Reverend Ben Connelly Minnesota Zen Meditation Center
  4. Melissa Miller the Catholic Church
  5. Sumera Islam
  6. Imam Ahmed Anshur Alihsan Islamic Center
  7. Minister Phillip Romine Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area
  8. Reverend Anna Helgen
    Edina Community Lutheran Church
  9. Rabbi Morris Allen Beth Jacob
  10. Pastor Rev. Matthias Peterson-Brandt

80.Imam Ibrahim Sharif Dar Al Farooq

81. Pastor H David Stewart Presbytery of Twin Cities Area

82.Peter Anderson
Director of Formation. Peace Catalyst International

83.Reverend Laurie Eaton ELCA Clergy, retired

84.Reverend Rita Capezzi
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato

85.Pastor Bradley Schmeling Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

86.Executive Director Yusuf Abdulle Islamic Association of North America

87. Reverend Dr. Rebecca Voelkel Lyndale United Church of Christ

88.Rabbi Jill Crimmings Bet Shalom

89.Faith Organizer Allison Connelly-Vetter Center for Sustainable Justic

90.Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg

91. Reverend Dr. Paula Nordhem United Church of Christ

92.Reverend Sara Smalley
UU Fellowship of Northfield

93.Priest Bussho Lahn Flying Cloud Zen

94.Imam Mohamud Wardere Darul Iman

95. Rabbi Esther Adler Esther Adler Mount Zion Temple

96.Craig Pederson
Assistant to the Bishop. Minneapolis Area Synod, ELCA

97. Rabbi Tobias Moss Temple Israel

98.Pastor Karen Bruins Lake Harriet UMC

99.Pastor Elisabeth Johnson
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

100. Minister JaNaé Bates ISAIAH

101. Pastor Mark Boorsma Ascension Lutheran Church

102. Lead Pastor Jen Nagel University Lutheran Church of Hope

103. Jaylani Hussein
Executive Director. CAIR-Minnesota