Man Arrested for Training Children to Commit School Shootings Has Connection to 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the son of New York imam Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, allegedly trained children to commit school shootings.
Wahhaj and four of his relatives were arrested on August 3 after law enforcement discovered they were operating in a New Mexico compound, where 11 children were found living in squalor. The Taos County sheriff described the compound as have “the ugliest, filthiest” conditions and that the children, relegated to only wearing rags, had scant access to food.
According to court documents, Wahhaj and the four other adults are Islamic “extremists” who were training the children to commit school shootings. They were arrested on charges of child abuse and neglect. The children are currently in protective custody.
Wahhaj also faces a warrant on Georgia on abducting his son, Abdul-Ghani, who was last seen with his father in December. Abdul-Ghani’s mother alleges that Wahhaj wanted to perform a ruqya (prayer) to heal the boy, who suffers from a neurological condition that renders him unable to walk and plagues him with seizures.
Abdul-Ghani was not found at the compound, however authorities are trying to determine if the remains of a boy discovered at the compound belong to Abdul-Ghani.
Wahhaj’s father was named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings; during the trial of the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was the mastermind behind the bombings, the elder Wahhaj testified that Rahman is a “respected scholar” and “strong preacher of Islam.” Wahhaj Sr. also declared “May Allah bless Sudan” after the Sudanese government established itself as a safe haven for al-Qaeda following the World Trade Center bombing.
Additionally, the elder Wahhaj stated in a 1992 sermon, “I will never ever tell people, ‘don’t be violent, that is not the Islamic way.’ The violence has to be selected.” Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour praised Wahhaj Sr. in a 2017 speech as her “favorite person in the room.”