New York imam baffled by family members’ arrest in New Mexico child abuse case – National

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A outstanding New York Metropolis Muslim cleric mentioned on Thursday that he was baffled by occasions resulting in his grandson’s presumed dying and the arrest of his son and 4 different grownup kin on prices of abusing kids at a compound in New Mexico.

Siraj Wahhaj, a Brooklyn-based imam, spoke to reporters at his mosque, Masjid Taqwa, a day after his son, two daughters, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law had been charged with 11 felony counts of kid abuse in New Mexico.

The son, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, additionally was charged with custodial interference within the alleged abduction of his Three-year-old son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, final December from the Atlanta residence of the kid’s mom.

READ MORE: Stays of boy discovered on New Mexico complicated the place kids discovered ravenous

The seek for the lacking boy and his father finally led investigators to the ramshackle compound on the outskirts of Amalia, New Mexico, north of Taos close to the Colorado border.

Eleven kids starting from 1 to 15 years of age had been discovered ragged and ravenous on the compound final Friday after sheriff’s deputies raided it. They had been positioned in protecting custody.

The imam, who was the primary Muslim to supply a prayer earlier than the U.S. Home of Representatives, mentioned he’s the organic grandfather of 9 of the youngsters within the case, together with Abdul. Stays of a younger boy believed to be these of Abdul had been discovered on the compound on Monday.

WATCH: New Mexico compound allegedly used to coach college shootings






The elder Wahhaj mentioned, with out elaborating, that among the kids have mentioned they noticed Abdul alive as just lately as three weeks in the past, including, “Certainly one of them mentioned, ‘Yeah, we buried him over there.’”

His son, mentioned by authorities to have been closely armed when arrested, was taken into custody together with his brother-in-law, Lucas Morton. His spouse Jany Leveille and two sisters, Subhannah and Hujrah Wahhaj, had been detained and later arrested.

In courtroom petitions looking for to carry them with out bond, prosecutors accused them of coaching the youngsters to make use of firearms to hold out college shootings, however no associated prices have been filed.

READ MORE: Officers take away 11 kids from New Mexico compound discovered ravenous, in filthy situations

The elder Siraj Wahhaj mentioned he has been cooperating with authorities of their investigation and that he had not had direct communication together with his son since a seek for him was launched after Abdul’s disappearance.

He mentioned he didn’t know what his son and daughters had been doing in New Mexico or what prompted them to enter seclusion, however he was anxious to unravel a scenario he described as “weird” and “bizarre.”

“So far as my son and my daughters are involved, I need to ensure that they get good authorized illustration. We need to discover out what occurred,” he mentioned. “Even when it’s towards them. We stand in judgment. God stands in judgment towards them, and we stand on the aspect of fact.”

WATCH: 5 charged in connection to New Mexico compound raid plead not responsible






The cleric recounted having a quick trade together with his daughter Subhannah in some unspecified time in the future by a go-between on Fb. Subhannah later reached out to somebody in Atlanta saying, “‘I want some meals. We’re ravenous.”

The imam mentioned he instructed that middleman to “discover out the place we should always ship the meals.” He mentioned as soon as his daughter supplied the situation, “We gave it to the police. That’s why the police got here in.”

WATCH: Suspects in New Mexico raid charged with little one abuse






His account dovetailed with a chronology given earlier within the week by Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe, who mentioned he obtained a search warrant for the compound after police in Georgia bought a plea about hunger from somebody within the compound and shared it together with his investigators.

The imam mentioned his son had labored for a New York firm offering safety to company executives and celebrities and was licensed to hold firearms in 36 states. He described him as “high-strung” at occasions however not violent or “radical.”

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