by WorldTribune Staff, May 13, 2019
A potential terrorist training camp linked to the son of a prominent Brooklyn imam has been discovered near Tuskegee, Alabama, authorities say.
The FBI reported the camp contained a “makeshift military-style obstacle course” and the remains of a child.
“Just because you’re in a small town or a small state does not mean you might not potentially have individuals engaged in the types of activities that would call into question threats to national security,” said Tim Fuhrman, former FBI Special Agent of the Mobile, Alabama field office.
The Alabama camp was owned by Siran Ibn Wahhaj, son of Brooklyn imam Siran Wahhaj. The elder Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Siran Ibn Wahhaj also allegedly ran what was described as a terror training compound in New Mexico, for which he has been indicted.
During an August 2018 raid on the New Mexico compound, authorities arrested Wahhaj, his two sisters, and several others. After searching the compound, authorities found 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj dead and evidence of a plot to stage terrorist attacks in the area.
Prosecutors claimed the group trained children in firearms use to prepare them to attack schools.
NBC 15 reported that police had stopped Wahhaj in Alabama three days after the 3-year-old’s mother reported him missing in Georgia and eight months before the raid on the New Mexico compound. Wahhaj had reportedly told police he was going to New Mexico for a camping trip with his son. Police found five guns, a bulletproof vest, and several other items in the car but let Wahhaj go, according to a report of the incident.
In March, a federal grand jury in Albuquerque indicted Jany Leveille, 36, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, Subhanah Wahhaj, 36, and Lucas Morton, 41, on charges of providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to murder an officer or employee of the United States, kidnapping, possessing a firearm while unlawfully in the United States, and other charges.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to provide material support in preparation for violent attacks against federal law enforcement officers and members of the military,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers wrote in a news release. “Advancing beliefs through terror and violence has no place in America, and the National Security Division continues to make protecting against terrorism its top priority.”
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his two sisters are the children of Siraj Wahhaj. Authorities believe 9 of the 11 children found in the New Mexico compound are the imam’s grandchildren.
Imam Wahhaj denied any links to the group in August, claiming that his children disengaged from him and that, once alerted to the state of their compound, alerted police and helped them find it.
“To me there is something obviously happening, some mental disorder to me this doesn’t seem like them,” he said at the time.
FBI Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division Michael McGarrity said in recent congressional testimony that there are 850 open domestic terrorism investigations.
“The threat of domestic terrorism exists in every region of the United States and affects all walks of life,” McGarrity said.