TAOS, N.M. — At a remote New Mexico outpost, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and others who came to the area with him last year were by local authorities’ accounts “extremist of the Muslim belief” who trained youth to use fire arms and carry out future school shootings.
Yet for the 40-year-old’s father, a Muslim cleric who leads a well-known New York City mosque, the son he knew before losing touch with him in the past year was not “radical.” He may have been “high-strung,” but the father never believed his son was extreme enough to kill anyone.
And the imam’s two daughters — 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj and 35-year-old Subhannah Wahhaj, who had lived at the compound too — were the “sweetest kinds of people,” he said. One was a public speaker, and the other a writer.
“This doesn’t seem like them. We know them,” their father Siraj Wahhaj, who shares a name with his son, said Thursday in New York. “Muslims all over the world, those who know him, they said this is strange.”
The three siblings and two other adults have been charged with child abuse stemming from the alleged neglect of the 11 children found living on a squalid compound on the outskirts of tiny Amalia, New Mexico. All five are being jailed without bail in New Mexico.
A man at the compound, Lucas Morton, also is facing a count of “harboring a felon” on accusations he refused to tell authorities the younger Siraj Wahhaj’s location when authorities raided the compound.
Wahhaj, whom authorities say was eventually found armed with multiple firearms, including an assault rifle, is wanted on a warrant in Georgia in the disappearance of his son.
Prosecutors said Abdul-ghani Wahhaj was 3 years old when he was snatched from his mother in December in Jonesboro, Georgia, near Atlanta.
A warrant says the father at some point told his wife he wanted to perform an exorcism on the boy, who suffers seizures and requires constant attention because of a lack of oxygen and blood flow at birth.
The elder Wahhaj said he did not know anything about his son wanting to perform an exorcism on the boy. But he said his son and one of his daughters had become “overly concerned” with the idea of people becoming possessed.
A search for the child led authorities to the compound. However, Abdul-ghani was not among the 11 children rescued last week.
A second search of the acreage Monday — which …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News