A man named Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was allegedly training a group of children found living with him at a remote compound in New Mexico to carry out school shootings. From the Associated Press:
The father of a missing Georgia boy was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit school shootings, prosecutors said in court documents obtained Wednesday…
Prosecutor Timothy Hasson filed the court documents while asking that Wahhaj be held without bail after he was arrested last week with four other adults facing child abuse charges.
“He poses a great danger to the children found on the property as well as a threat to the community as a whole due to the presence of firearms and his intent to use these firearms in a violent and illegal manner,” Hasson wrote…
In the court documents, authorities said a foster parent of one of the 11 children removed from the compound had told authorities that the child had been trained to use an assault rifle in preparation for a school shooting.
The details of this story are pretty extraordinary. Last December, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj allegedly took his young son Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj from his mother’s home in Georgia after telling the mother they were going to the park. From the Santa Fe New Mexican:
Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj…was reported missing in December from his Clayton County, Ga., home by his mother. She told police the boy’s father had taken his son. The child was born with a medical condition that caused seizures, and the mother worried the boy’s father had not taken any medication to give his son. She told police the father believed the boy was “possessed.”
After crossing the country, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj wound up living at a primitive compound in a remote part of New Mexico. The landowner raised complaints about the compound after a falling out with his tenants but the local police felt they had no grounds on which to raid the camp.
That changed last week when someone at the camp sent a message saying, “We are starving and need food and water.” That message made it to Georgia police who then relayed it to police in New Mexico. When New Mexico authorities finally raided the camp last Friday they found Wahhaj, another man, three women, and 11 children living there with no food or water.
The 11 children at the heavily armed but otherwise ill-equipped and “filthy” site near the Colorado border, which had no water, plumbing or electricity and little food, ranged in age from 1 to 15, the statement said, adding that the children had “basically dirty rags for clothing” and no shoes.
“I’ve been working this job for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Hogrefe said in the interview. “People live off the grid, but man, not like this.”…
“The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in that filthy trailer,” Hogrefe wrote. “… We all gave the kids our water and what snacks we had — it was the saddest living conditions and poverty I have seen.”
In the phone interview, Hogrefe said FBI analysts told him the suspects appeared to be “extremist of the Muslim belief.”
So far, that’s the only mention anyone has made of Wahhaj’s personal beliefs. Several reports mention that Wahhaj is related to a well-known New York imam from Brooklyn with the same name. This NY Post story identifies the NY imam as the father of the man living at the compound and adds that two of the women living there are his daughters:
Siraj Wahhaj is the son of the Brooklyn imam of the same name, 68, who heads the Masjid At-Taqwa in Bedford-Stuyvesant, several congregants at the mosque confirmed to The Post.
Hujrah and Subhanah are the elder Wahhaj’s daughters. Morton is married to Sabhanah, and Leveille is the younger Wahhaj’s wife, according to public records and statements by the imam…
Prosecutors named the elder Siraj Wahhaj — born Jeffrey Kearse — as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He also was a character witness in the trial of convicted terror plotter Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.
As for the kidnapped little boy, he was not at the camp when police raided it last Friday, but Monday, on what would have been his 4th birthday, there was another development in the case. From the New Mexican:
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said unidentified remains of a young boy were found Monday at a remote compound in Northern New Mexico where five adults were arrested and 11 children were taken into protective custody last week.
A boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, 4, who is thought to have been living at the compound, remains missing.
All five adults who were living at the camp are facing 11 charges each of child abuse. Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is also facing a kidnapping charge in Georgia. But it seems possible that someone at the camp could be facing some sort of murder or manslaughter charge once the remains are identified. And that’s not even mentioning the allegations about training minors to carry out school shootings. Hopefully, all of the adults involved will be spending a lot of time in prison.