Siraj Ibn Wahhaj Jr., 40, of Clayton County, Georgia (bottom, center), was arrested along with his two sisters and two other adults last Friday in New Mexico on charges of felony child abuse for holding 11 starving children in an underground trailer hidden from view in a compound described as "overflowing" with weapons and ammunition.
But there is more to this story that is not appearing in the nightly news accounts we've all been following.
Nobody is talking about Wahhaj's well-connected father, Siraj Wahhaj Sr., a radical Brooklyn imam who is the spiritual adviser to Democratic Socialist and Bernie Sanders supporter Linda Sarsour.
The elder Wahhaj also has ties to the two most prominent U.S. Muslim organizations -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA -- and he was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Sarsour, co-chair of the Women's March on Washington, has become the face of ISNA. She spoke at an ISNA conference in Chicago last summer in which she praised Wahhaj Sr. as her "favorite person" and called on U.S. Muslims to wage political jihad against the Trump administration. Since that time she has been working to elect far-left Democrats to public office such as Dr. Abdul El-Sayed in Michigan, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez in New York, and Stacy Abrams in Georgia.
Siraj Wahhaj Jr., according to court documents, was training the malnourished kids to carry out school shootings. Essentially, it was a jihad training camp for child terrorists.
Clothed in rags and reduced to skeletons, the children were living with five adults at the compound in Taos County, a remote area of northern New Mexico. Police found the body of a toddler on the grounds which they believe to be that of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, the 3-year-old son of Wahhaj Jr. and grandson of Wahhaj Sr. According to court documents, Wahhaj Jr. also faces abduction charges for allegedly kidnapping his son from his mother's home in Georgia. While focused on the boys' military training, he neglected their basic needs while leaving them malnourished and living in horrific conditions described by police as "Third World."
But the media seems reticent to bring up this Muslim "extremist's" family's ties to Sarsour, a darling and rising star in the Democrat Party, as it tilts more to the extreme left to placate its base in the age of Trump. Nor are they posing the question: If Wahhaj Jr. holds "extremist" views, where did he get them from? Could it have been from his imam father?
Father schooled in Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia
The 40-year-old Wahhaj Jr. is the son of Siraj Wahhaj Sr., 68, a black Muslim convert who went on to become a well-known and politically-connected Saudi-trained imam. Wahhaj Sr. was an honored guest at the Clinton State Department and the Obama White House. He was the first Muslim to lead prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives in 1991. He once predicted in a widely available sermon that U.S. democracy would "crumble" and be conquered from within by Islam, and also said it is "our duty as Muslims to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Quran."
I pray Allah will bless us to raise an Army, and I'm serious about this. We were very close, recently. We had made intention to raise an army of 10,000 men in New York City. Muslim men to fight in the way of subhanahu wa ta'ala. And this is serious.
So this is the father of the guy who has a compound stocked with military-grade weapons and floor-to-ceiling ammunition in the remote New Mexico desert, where he was training young boys to fight in the way of Allah.
Wahhaj Jr. had lived near Atlanta in Clayton County and none of the information that led to his capture would have come to light were it not for the fact that one of his wives, Hakima Ramzi, filed a missing child report late last year regarding her 3-year-old son. Ramzi said her husband, Wahhaj Jr., took the boy to the park in Clayton County and never came back.
The local sheriff told New Mexico media his department had "suspicions" that Wahhaj and the boy were present at the compound in Taos, but they did not have enough evidence to get a warrant.
That didn't happen until last week, when someone inside the New Mexico compound got word to police that they were starving.
If Siraj Wahhaj Sr. is not already being investigated by the FBI for any possible knowledge of his son's criminal activities, we can only hope that such an investigation will be forthcoming.
It's not as if Wahhaj Sr. has a pristine reputation. He has already been linked in court documents to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and testified on behalf of the notorious "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted for masterminding the bombing.
Wahhaj Sr. also serves as the leading spiritual mentor to Sarsour, who last year called on Muslims to wage jihad against the Trump administration and exhorted them not to assimilate into U.S. society.
Sarsour last summer addressed the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA. She had glowing words for her "mentor," Siraj Wahhaj Sr., who was sitting in the audience:
And to my favorite person in this room, that’s mutual, is Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who has been a mentor, motivator, and encourager of mine. Someone who has taught me to speak truth to power, and not worry about the consequences. Someone who has taught me that we are on this earth to please Allah and only Allah, and that we are not here to please any man or woman on this earth. So I am grateful to you Imam Siraj, and you might think this is weird, but every once in a while, when I get into that deep dark place, Imam Siraj comes and talks to me. And he helps me to emerge out of those places, so I’m grateful to you Imam Siraj, and may Allah bless you and protect you for a long time for our community, because we need you now more than ever.
Wahhaj Sr. is known for his stridently anti-American views, a theme that Sarsour has parroted in her speeches, though the politicians who openly cavort with her are rarely called into question for associating with her.
"In time this so-called democracy will crumble and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam," Wahhaj Sr. said, according to a 2003 Wall Street Journal article.
Sarsour posted to her Facebook page (above) on March 5 a picture of herself with Siraj Wahhaj Sr. and CAIR leaders Dawud Walid and Nihad Awad, among others, at an anti-Trump protest rally in Washington, D.C.
Sarsour was known as the de facto campaign manager for Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, who finished second in the Democrat gubernatorial primary Tuesday, Aug. 7, in Michigan.
Sarsour has also endorsed the candidacy of Democrat primary winner Stacy Abrams for governor of Georgia, who had her picture made with Sarsour in January and tweeted "Proud to stand with activist organizer and @womensmarch national co-chair LSarsour."
Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes wrote in his book Militant Islam Reaches America that Wahhaj Sr. represents Muslims who both despise the United States and ultimately wish to transform it into a Muslim country."
Wahhaj Sr. grew up Jeffrey Kearse in a Baptist family. He converted to the Nation of Islam as a young man and later converted to orthodox Sunni Islam. In 1978, he attended a class in Naperville, Illinois, with 50 African-American Muslims consisting of 40 days of intense training on the Quran. He later traveled to Mecca for more training. He returned to the U.S. and started his own mosque in 1981 and has been, since the early 1990s, one of the most popular circuit-riding imams in the U.S., traveling around the country preaching hatred against America and Israel.
One of his more telling quotes, from a sermon, is as follows:
Islam is better than Democracy. Allah will cause his deen, Islam, to prevail over every kind of system. And you know what? It will happen.
Philip Haney, a retired Homeland Security investigator and author of the book "See Something, Say Nothing," said he wonders if the FBI has been tracking Wahhaj Jr. given the notorious activities of his father. And if there were, why didn't they raid the compound in New Mexico sooner?
Haney said he has been following the preaching career of Wahhaj Sr. closely for years.
"His father is definitely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. ... This has been going on way too long when Siraj Wahhaj goes around the country preaching hatred and sharia law in our mosques," Haney said. "I've been tracking his career for some time and it's well past time that this information gets laid out on the table."
Haney said Wahhaj Sr. has known ties to the radical ADAMS Center mosque in northern Virginia, and Dar al Hijra mosque in Washington, D.C., as well as past affiliations with Anwar Al-Awlaki, and the "Blind Sheikh."
"Now that this has come out, it shows the American people were really smart not to nominate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed for governor of Michigan," he said. "Imagine if you had nominated this guy with all this new information coming out about CAIR and ISNA, the face of whom is his buddy Linda Sarsour."