The father of a missing three-year-old boy in Georgia trained children at a Taos, New Mexico compound to carry out school shootings, prosecutors said in court five days after authorities conducted a raid of the compound on Friday 3rd August 2018 after investigating the disappearance of three-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who went missing in Jonesboro, Georgia, in December 2017. He is also the subject of an extradition warrant from Georgia on charges of kidnapping his own son.
Investigators say the decomposed remains of a boy had also been found on the compound. Wahhaj’s father, Imam Siraj Wahhaj, announced that the decomposed remains of the child found at the compound were that of his kidnapped three-year-old grandson. The warrant filed in Georgia stated that Wahhaj planned to perform an “exorcism” on the boy, who suffered from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, had chronic seizures, and was unable to walk on his own. Court documents indicate that the child actually had died at his father’s hand “during a religious ritual intended to expel religious demons from his body.”
“It’s not an exorcism. That was a translation issue in the court,” said the boy’s mother, Hakima Ramzi, insisting Wahhaj “just wanted to pray for Abdul-Ghani to get better.”
Court documents state that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, held a series of weapons training sessions at the compound near the Colorado border where authorities found 11 hungry children living in squalor. Prosecutors requested that Wahhaj be held in jail without bond. Authorities arrested Wahhaj last week along with four adults on charges of child abuse. The other defendants in the compound case are the younger Siraj Wahhaj’s wife, his two sisters, and his brother-in-law. The Post quoted a January Facebook post from the elder Wahhaj that implied his son, the other co-conspirators, and a total of 12 of his grandchildren had gone missing and were “traveling together.”
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that authorities found Wahhaj “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down.” Hogrefe added that the children on the compound, ranging in age from one to 15 years old, “looked like third world country refugees with not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.”
On the other hand, a neighbor of the group in New Mexico described them to the local Taos News as “the most kindest people I’ve ever met in my life,” and said he saw no indications the children were being mistreated.
One attorney argued that the men were victims of Islamophobia and racism, commenting, “The NRA right now are telling us that guns are a good thing and that we should be training our teenagers to go ahead and use them, but now that we have someone who’s actually do that, and they’re not white, and they’re not Christian we think there’s some nefarious plan.”
“No one would bat an eye” if the men were white Christians”, added Thomas Clark, attorney for Siraj Wahhaj.
Judge Backus appeared to show sympathy towards the alleged jihadists when she remarked, “Many people here live in unconventional ways.”
Taos News reported Wahhaj and his group were involved in a traffic accident in Alabama in December. Two other adults and five children were riding in a box truck with Wahhaj at the time. The group told Alabama police they were “traveling to New Mexico for a camping trip.”
In June, a landlord-tenant restitution case was filed against the owner of the box truck, Lucas Allen Morton of Atlanta, Georgia. Taos News reported that a truck matching that description was parked on the grounds of the compound in New Mexico. The New York Post stated that Morton is one of the four other individuals arrested at the compound and is married to Wahhaj’s sister Sabhanah.
Siraj Wahhaj’s father, who was born under the name Jeffrey Kearse but also goes by the name Siraj Wahhaj, was an “unindicted co-conspirator” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings and a prominent Imam and leader of the Muslim Alliance in North America, the Washington Times reported. Authorities believed he was connected to the bombings, but prosecutors never filed charges against him. He served as a character witness in the trial of mastermind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh.” Wahhaj Sr. presides over a Brooklyn, New York, mosque.
Wahhaj Sr. was an honored guest at the Clinton State Department and the Obama White House. He was the first Muslim to lead prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991. He once predicted in a widely available sermon that U.S. democracy would “crumble” and be conquered from within by Islam, and also said it is “our duty as Muslims to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Quran.”
Wahhaj, Sr. has called for death to all homosexuals and lesbians, citing Islamic law, and speaking at a fundraiser for the Benevolence International Foundation, said:
I pray Allah will bless us to raise an Army, and I’m serious about this. We were very close, recently. We had made intention to raise an army of 10,000 men in New York City. Muslim men to fight in the way of subhanahu wa ta’ala. And this is serious.
Philip Haney, a retired Homeland Security investigator and author of the book “See Something, Say Nothing,” said Wahhaj Sr. has known ties to the radical ADAMS Center mosque in northern Virginia, and Dar al Hijra mosque in Washington, D.C., as well as past affiliations with Anwar Al-Awlaki, and the “Blind Sheikh.”
“Now that this has come out, it shows the American people were really smart not to nominate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed for governor of Michigan,” he said. “Imagine if you had nominated this guy with all this new information coming out about CAIR and ISNA, the face of whom is his buddy Linda Sarsour.”
My favorite person in this room, that’s mutual, is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who has been a mentor, and motivator and encourager of mine, someone who has taught me to speak truth to power and not worry about the consequences, someone who has taught me we are on this earth to please Allah, and only Allah, that we are not here to please any man or women on this Earth, so I’m grateful to you, Imam Siraj … I’m grateful to you Imam Siraj, God bless you and protect you for a long time because we need you now more than ever.
Sarsour has also showered praise upon Imam Wahhaj in a series of tweets.
In a controversial move, authorities partially destroyed the compound in a move that came after a court order was released allowing for the seizure of a stolen trailer that was located on the compound. Crime Time reports:
“The remote New Mexico compound police believe was a school-shooter training ground has been partially destroyed, burying in rubble the underground tunnel at the location where the remains of a young boy were found.”
Even more controversial, four of the five Islamists were released on bail ten days after their arrest- without even having to post any bond money. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) told told local KOB 4 News that the judge’s decision is just the latest example of judicial extremism freeing dangerous criminals:
“In a statement sent to KOB following the hearing, Gov. Susana Martinez said she ‘strongly disagreed’ with the hearing’s outcome and Backus’s decision.
“‘Unfortunately, it highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals,’ she said.”
The suspects were released on a $20,000 “signature bond,” which does not require them to post any deposit money with the court to secure their release. Also known as a “personal recognizance bond,” merely requires the defendants to promise to pay the $20,000 if they skip out on their trial and are, subsequently, recaptured. Prosecutors claimed that they were only being targeted because they were “black and Muslim”.
Despite police warning that the children were being trained with guns to carry out the school attacks, Judge Sarah Backus concluded that the radical Islamists aren’t “a danger to the community,” The Albuquerque Journal reports:
“The state argued that the 11 children at the compound were being trained to use guns as they prepared to attack teachers, law enforcement and others in institutions that the group considered corrupt.”
“Judge Sarah Backus said the state, despite assertions by prosecutors that one of the defendants was training the children to attack various institutions with guns, didn’t prove the group was a danger to the community.”
On August 29th, three of the suspects were released from custody, just hours after a judge dismissed all of the charges against them. District Judge Emilio Chavez dismissed charges against Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj and Hujrah Wahhaj, ruling that authorities violated the state’s “10-day rule.” Child abuse charges against them were dropped because prosecutors missed the 10-day limit for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause. During a separate hearing, Judge Jeff McElroy dismissed the same charges against fellow defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille.
Then, on Friday August 31st – two days later, the FBI announced that it had arrested all five New Mexico compound suspects (again), days after multiple charges were dropped. The suspects were now being charged with violating federal firearms and conspiracy laws.
The announcement came after local prosecutors dropped charges in the death of a 3-year-old boy at the compound site. Taos County District Attorney Donald Gallegos said his office would seek grand jury indictments involving the death. Gallegos said seeking indictments would allow more time to gather evidence.
“The defendants, Jany Leveille, 35, a Haitian national illegally present in the United States, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 37, Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, and Lucas Morton, 40, are charged in a criminal complaint that was filed earlier today in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico,” the bureau said in a statement.
“The criminal complaint charges Jany Leveille with being an alien unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition in the District of New Mexico from Nov. 2017 through Aug. 2018,” the bureau said. “The criminal complaint charges the other four defendants with aiding and abetting Leveille in committing the offense, and with conspiring with Leveille to commit the offense.”
Leveille faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment and deportation upon completion of her sentence if convicted, according to the bureau. If convicted of aiding and abetting Leveille, Leveille’s co-defendants could each face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment. If convicted on the conspiracy charge, meanwhile, the five could each face a statutory penalty of five years’ imprisonment.