by George Rasley
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was arrested along with several other adults at a squalid compound in New Mexico. 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.
During the raid eleven abused children were taken into care by authorities and the remains of one dead child (since identified as Wahhaj’s son) were found at the compound. Lucas Morton, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, were arrested along with Wahhaj on the property on Friday and all face child abuse charges according to Fox News.
Wahhaj, who has now been charged with felony child abuse, had reportedly been training the children to commit school shootings.
The makeshift compound – located near the Colorado border – was found shielded by old tires, wooden pallets and other debris. Upon authorities’ arrival, Wahhaj was “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said according to reporting by Fox.
The sheriff said the children, ages 1 to 15, “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.”
Investigative reporter Paul Sperry reports that Wahhaj “has been on the radar of federal counterterrorism officials for the past 13 years on suspicion of jihadist activity.”
According to the charging affidavit, Wahhaj was armed with a loaded revolver and was wearing a belt with ammunition for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, next to Wahhaj was a loaded AR-15. Other items found at the compound included a Marlin 30-30 rifle with a scope, and other guns and ammunition.
Our friend Matthew Vadum reports that despite abundant evidence of suspicious activities, timid FBI officials refused to raid the compound, instead sending a neighbor in wearing a hidden camera. The reluctance of the agents of the embattled law enforcement agency to act may be based on fear of being accused of so-called Islamophobia. Fortunately, local police did their duty and entered the property and discovered the children in what some described as Third World living conditions.
Wahhaj’s father, who shares his name, is deeply involved in Democrat politics. Wahhaj is the imam of Brooklyn, New York’s At-Taqwa Mosque and used to be a member of CAIR’s national board of advisers.
Imam Wahhaj offered an opening prayer at an event called “Jumah at the DNC” at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, as blogger Israel Matzav and others reported at the time.
But here’s where the story goes from concerning to terrifying.
Judge Sarah Backus, an elected Democrat, on Monday set a $20,000 bail for five defendants and ordered the two men and three women to wear ankle monitors, have weekly contact with their attorneys and not consume alcohol or own firearms while on bail. She said although she was concerned by “troubling facts,” prosecutors failed to articulate any specific threats to the community.
However, it is not like the prosecutors didn’t try.
Prosecutors on Monday said Siraj Ibn Wahhaj provided some of the children with firearms training – including tactical skills such as “speed loading” guns and firing while in motion.
Judge Backus was apparently unpersuaded; “What I’ve heard here today is troubling, definitely. Troubling facts about numerous children in far from ideal circumstances and individuals who are living in a very unconventional way,” was Backus’ take on the threat posed by Wahhaj and his cell.
Monday isn’t the first time Backus has issued low bail for suspects accused of violent crimes and abusing children, reported Fox.
Just last month, reported Lucia I. Suarez Sang, she set a $10,000 bond for Rafael Orozco, a 24-year-old Taos man accused of battering his girlfriend, his newborn child and a health care worker at Holy Cross Hospital in September 2016.
Orozco reportedly fled the hospital and was arrested in Rio Arriba County a few months later. While in prison, Orozco was accused of other crimes, including obtaining Suboxone, an opioid medication, and pulling a fire alarm. A year later, he and his brother, Cristian Orozco, were charged with assaulting and threatening a guard.
Backus approved an order to incarcerate Orozco at the Lea County Correctional Facility until his trial. His defense attorney recently filed a motion arguing for his release and last month, Backus ruled in his favor.
Ms. Sang reports Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, said Backus’ decision to release “suspected terrorists” into the community has put the people of the state at risk.
“By releasing these suspects without even requiring them to post bail, Judge Backus has put people in danger and created the risk that they could flee and harm other children and communities as well,” he said in a statement. “If New Mexico Democratic Party leaders are serious about keeping our state safe, they should join me in denouncing Judge Backus and the incredible failure of leadership and judgment demonstrated by her terrible decision.”
The recall of local elected government officials in New Mexico is authorized in §9 of Article 10 of the New Mexico Constitution. Although it is unclear to us whether that provision would apply to Judge Backus, we urge our friends in New Mexico to explore every option available to remove this danger to society from the bench.
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George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com and is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns. A member of American MENSA, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.