The attacker behind the bombing of a Minnesota mosque in 2017 was sentenced to 53 years in prison, just weeks after the individual — a biological male — requested recognition from the judge as a woman.
The bomber, 50, whose name has been withheld per Daily Wire policy, was convicted last year for planning a bombing at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. The bomber was the driver, while two co-defendants threw a pipe bomb into the building.
No one was injured in the attack.
During the trial, the attacker’s lawyers hoped to cut down the prison time by citing the militia leader’s mental difficulties, including gender dysphoria. The prosecutors wanted the attacker to receive life in prison, while the defendant’s lawyers argued for a 30-year sentence, the minimum for the conviction.
“This bomb — the defendant’s bomb — was an act of terror intended to destroy the heart of a community,” prosecutors said during the trial.
Ultimately, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank decided to go with the 53-year sentence, saying, “Anything less than 636 months would [be] disrespect to the law.”
Frank said that the bomber wanted to “scare, intimidate and terrorize individuals of Muslim faith” through the attack. The judge also noted that the bureau of prisons would decide whether the bomber would go to a men’s or women’s prison, although he said he was inclined to recommend that the bomber be sent to a women’s prison.
“For how blessed my first 47 years of life were, I can’t complain about what the last three have looked like … considering my blessed and fortunate and happy life, I can’t ask the judge for anything further,” the bomber said in a statement before the sentencing.
The militia leader added that those harmed by the attack would have “God’s richest blessings in Christ Jesus.”
“We were looking for life (in prison), but this is something we can settle for today,” said Khalid Omar, an attendee of the Dar Al Farooq mosque.
The 2017 attack took place in Bloomington, Minnesota, at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center. The bomber was convicted of civil rights and hate crime charges, according to the AP.
The bomber was found seven months after the attack, hiding out in Clarence, Illinois, along with the two other men involved in the attack. The group falsely believed that the mosque was an ISIS training center. The two pleaded guilty in 2019.
The attacker’s lawyers appealed to revelations about the identity of their client, which they claimed contributed to the bomber’s “inner conflict.” This conflict, they said, was created in part by “gender dysphoria and right-wing misinformation,” the Star Tribune reported.
“She strongly desired making a full transition but knew she would be ostracized from everyone and everything she knew,” Shannon Elkins, the bomber’s defense attorney said in the documents. “Thus, as she formed a ragtag group of freedom fighters or militia men and spoke of missions to Cuba and Venezuela, [the defendant] secretly looked up ‘sex change,’ ‘transgender surgery,’ and ‘post-op transgender’ on the internet.”
She noted that the attacker was living a “double life” and planned to travel to Thailand for a sex-change operation.
Whether the bomber will be placed in a men’s or women’s prison is yet to be determined.
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