Chuck Ross, DCNF
The son of a prominent Brooklyn-based imam was training children at a New Mexico compound to commit schools shootings, prosecutors said in court documents released Wednesday.
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, was training 11 children at a compound north of Taos, New Mexico, according to The Associated Press. Authorities raided the compound Friday and arrested Wahhaj, two of his siblings and two other men during a search for Wahhaj’s son, who had been abducted from Georgia late in 2017.
A 3-year-old boy was found buried near the compound, but has not been identified. Wahhaj’s son was not among the children rescued.
Residents in Amalia, New Mexico, near the Colorado border, had complained for months about the squalid conditions of the makeshift compound before Friday’s raid, according to news reports. Authorities recovered multiple firearms as well as an AR-15.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Tuesday that authorities initially did not have enough evidence to search the compound. Wahhaj and his son were not spotted on the property. A breakthrough came last week when authorities received a tip that a starving child might be living at the compound.
Wahhaj’s father, also named Siraj, is a controversial cleric with close ties to Muslim rights groups like the Islamic Circle of North American, the Muslim American Society and the Center for American Islamic Relations. The elder Wahhaj was also an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case. He was a character witness for Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called “Blind Sheikh.”
A spokesman for the imam told CNN that he is “devastated” that the remains of the child at the compound could be his grandson.
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