Horrifying details emerged on Wednesday in the case of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the son of an imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who was arrested in New Mexico on charges of keeping 11 starving children in a filthy compound. According to court documents filed by prosecutors, Wahhaj was training the children to carry out school shootings.
Prosecutors asked the judge to hold Wahhaj without bond for felony child abuse. He is also the subject of an extradition warrant from Georgia on charges of kidnapping his own son from the state in December. His son was not among the starving children rescued from the compound. There are fears the remains of an as-yet unidentified child found at the compound could be Wahhaj’s son.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that Wahhaj and four accomplices possessed an AR-15 rifle and four pistols with ample ammunition and were training the children to commit school shootings.
Wahhaj’s father, who was born under the name Jeffrey Kearse but now also uses the name “Siraj Wahhaj,” is an imam in New York who was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He served as a character witness in the trial of mastermind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh.”
The New York Post reported on Monday that the elder Wahhaj is currently the head of the Majid at-Taqwa mosque in Bedford-Stuyvesant. 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.”
The 11 living children rescued from the compound, plus the child’s remains that were recovered, would add up to 12 kids. The missing boy, named Abdul-Ghani, was 3 years old at the time his mother said her husband Siraj Wahhaj abducted him from Georgia; Monday marked his fourth birthday.
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.