Muslim Extremist Arrested at New Mexico Compound Is the Son of Terror-Linked NYC Imam
One of the men arrested in the raid on a squalid New Mexico compound Friday is the son of a notorious New York City imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Fox News reported.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, was allegedly planning to perform an “exorcism” on his 4-year-old son and was training children to commit school shootings, prosecutors said in court documents obtained by the media 0n Wednesday.
Brooklyn imam Siraj Wahhaj Sr. was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 terrorist bombing plot, and is also a good friend of "Women's March" founder Linda Sarsour.
The younger Wahhaj was arrested in the raid along with four other adults. Authorities are waiting to find out if human remains found at the site were those of his severely disabled son, Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.
Eleven hungry and malnourished children ages 1 to 15 were living in the "filthy" compound in Amalia, New Mexico, near the Colorado border.
Their mothers — Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35 — and Lucas Morton were arrested with Wahhaj. The children were placed in protective custody, according to Fox News.
Authorities said that during the raid Friday they found an AR-15, five 30-round loaded magazines, and four loaded pistols. They also indicated that there was a shooting range on the site.
Court documents say that the younger Wahhaj was conducting weapons training with the children at the compound.
Before the raid, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said the occupants of the compound were “most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”
Wahhaj was already being sought by police prior to Thursday’s raid in connection with the disappearance of his 4-year-old son Abdul-Ghani.
In a warrant made public Monday, Wahhaj told the boy’s mother he wanted to perform an “exorcism” on his then-3-year-old son because he believed he was “possessed by the Devil.” The boy suffered from seizures and couldn’t walk, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The elder Wahhaj heads Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn and was a character witness in the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the “blind sheikh.” Rahman was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks in the U.S.
Hujrah and Subhannah Wahhaj, who is married to Morton, are Wahhaj Sr.’s daughters. The younger Wahhaj is married to Leveille, the New York Post reported citing public records and statements the imam made in a January Facebook post.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, please make duas for the safe return of our children and grandchildren: Siraj, Hujrah, Subhanah Wahhaj, son in law Luqman (Lucas) Morton, and daughter in law Maryam (Jany) Leveille and their children (our 12 grandchildren). We believe they may be traveling together,” the elder Wahhaj wrote.
On Friday, authorities were searching for Abdul-Ghani when they entered the compound, which was walled off by stacks of old tires, wooden pallets and other debris. A desperate plea for help sent to a Georgia investigator stated people inside were “starving and needed food and water.”
According to Sheriff Hogrefe, Wahhaj was armed with an “AR-15 rifle, five loaded 30-round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket” when the police arrived.
Hogrefe said the children were bare-footed, wore dirty rags for clothing, and "looked like Third World country refugees." He described the living conditions as “the ugliest looking, filthiest” he’d ever seen.
Little Abdul-Ghani was not at the compound, but authorities said they believed the child had been there in recent weeks.
According to Fox News, none of the arrestees provided any information on the child’s whereabouts.
Wahhaj is facing a charge of abducting his son and, along with the four other adults, child abuse and neglect charges. More charges, unfortunately, could be added if the human remains indeed belong to Abdul-Ghani.