A boy whose remains were found in a remote desert compound in New Mexico died during a “ritual ceremony”, US prosecutors said.
By BBC News
The boy’s remains were discovered after police rescued 11 malnourished children who were being held at the site.
Five adults have been arrested on charges of abusing the children – charges they have denied.
The district judge granted all five bail, ruling the prosecution had not conclusively proven they were a threat.
Defence lawyers have argued that the prosecution are treating the five suspects unfairly because they are Muslim – something prosecutors deny.
Police raided the compound, near Amalia, on 6 August as part of their search for a missing three-year-old boy, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
Abdul-Ghani was not among the 11 children rescued from the compound – but police later found the remains of a young boy there.
Abdul-Ghani’s father, Siraj Wahhaj, is suspected of abducting the boy from his Georgia home in December.
He was arrested at the site, along with Lucas Morten, Jany Leveille, Hujhrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj.
Prosecutors had argued that the five were dangerous and should not be granted bail, because they had trained the children to use weapons and carry out school shootings.
They also said that the remains found at the site belonged to Abdul-Ghani and that the other children said the boy had died during a “religious ritual… intended to cast out demonic spirits”, where Siraj Wahhaj had put his hand to his son’s forehead, and recited verses from the Koran.
Abdul-Ghani suffered from seizures, but Mr Wahhaj believed the boy was possessed by the devil and needed to be exorcised, court papers said.
An FBI agent told the court that after Abdul-Ghani died, the children were told he would return “as Jesus” and tell them where to carry out attacks, an FBI agent told the court.
However, Judge Sarah Backus said that while the information she had heard was “troubling”, prosecutors had not proved that the defendants posed a threat to the wider community.
“The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot, but the state hasn’t shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what that plan was,” she said.
All five must wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their lawyers on bail, she ordered.
Defence lawyer Thomas Clark said the prosecution was using a double standard because the suspects are “black and Muslim”.
“If these people were white and Christian, nobody would bat an eye over the idea of faith healing, or praying over a body or touching a body and quoting scripture,” he said.
He criticised the prosecution for what he said were suggestions that “when black Muslims do it, there seems to be something nefarious, something evil”.
The discovery of the 11 children earlier this month had shocked many in the US.
Officers who discovered the children said they looked “like Third World country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing”.
Authorities had raided the site after receiving a message from someone that read: “We are starving and need food and water.”
This article (New Mexico compound boy ‘died during ritual ceremony’) was originally published on BBC News and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.
Horrifying details released in investigation of ‘extremist Muslim’ compound that allegedly conducted school-shooting training
By Matt Richardson
11 malnourished children rescued from a New Mexico compound linked to ‘extremist Muslims’ were being trained to commit school shootings, court documents show; William La Jeunesse reports.
The children discovered at an “extremist Muslim” compound in New Mexico earlier this month were both trained to use firearms and taught multiple tactical techniques in order to kill teachers, law enforcement and other institutions they found corrupt, state prosecutors revealed on Monday.
The prosecutors provided more details about the accusations during a court hearing in which they asked that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and four other defendants be held pending trial on child abuse charges.
But the judge in the case ruled against prosecutors’ request.
Judge Sarah Backus said although she was concerned by “troubling facts,” prosecutors failed to articulate any specific threats to the community.
She set a $20,000 bond for each defendant and ordered that they wear ankle monitors and have weekly contact with their attorneys.
It was also announced Monday that 3-year-old Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, who had been missing since December, allegedly died amid a ritualistic religious ceremony intended to “cast out demonic spirits,” Reuters reported.
“It was a religious ritual carried out… a ritual intended to cast out demonic spirits from Abdul-ghani Wahhaj,” Taos County Prosecutor John Lovelace said.
Public defenders argued the boy’s father was trying to heal the child by reading passages from the Koran but prosecutors claimed he was denying the boy medication. One of the children taken into custody claimed that the boy had died in February.
The children said they were told the boy would be resurrected as Jesus and guide them on which “corrupt institutions” to attack, NBC reported citing investigators.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the remains of a child found on the grounds of the compound were Abdul-ghani Wahhaj.
The defendants were arrested and 11 children were taken into custody during a raid Aug. 4 on the compound near the Colorado state line.
Wahhaj and the others were seated with their public defenders in a Taos courtroom Monday as prosecutors presented books that were found at the compound, documents related to Wahhaj’s trip to Saudi Arabia and a handwritten notebook that appeared to be some kind of teaching manual. They also pointed to evidence that Wahhaj had taken a series of firearms courses while in Georgia.
Defense attorneys, meantime, argued that prosecutors were trying unjustly to paint their clients as armed militants. Public defenders also argued that the rifles and handguns found on the property were common guns that could be bought at retail stores and that their clients made no aggressive efforts to defend their compound.
Wahhaj is the son of a Brooklyn imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, who was named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the New York Post reported. The elder Wahhaj, who heads Masjid At-Taqwa mosque, was a character witness in the trial for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “blind sheikh” who was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks in the U.S.
Fox News’ Travis Feschun, Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This article (Horrifying details released in investigation of ‘extremist Muslim’ compound that allegedly conducted school-shooting training | Fox News) was originally published on Fox News and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.