Black, Muslim, guns: Did the FBI just let a Black child die to build a case?

All of this put the younger Siraj Wahhaj on a watch list, but according to CNN, law enforcement indicated it was not enough to establish a search warrant, because Wahhaj had so far committed no crime. The compound was under helicopter surveillance by law enforcement and it was noted that a small child had been seen earlier limping around the compound.

New Mexico Compound (Image Source: Taos County Sheriff’s Office)

Neighbors in the area reported that when the group of 11 children and 5 adults arrived, their children played with each other. Over time, however, the kids stopped coming around and people could hear weapons fire from the compound. But apparently this was common in the area and it was assumed that the group was just living life “off the grid” and on their own terms. It was not until a message was received that the group had no food and water and needed assistance that contact was made.

It turned out that Wahhaj’s friend, Lucas Morton, the only other male on the compound, had sent the message to his father who then notified police. That was the excuse that Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe needed to take action. He stated in a news release after the raid that “I absolutely knew that we couldn’t wait on another agency to step up and we had to go check this out as soon as possible so I began working on a search warrant right after I got that intercepted message — it had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach for our own safety because we had learned the occupants were most likely heavily armed and considered extremist of the Muslim belief.”

On Wednesday, prosecutors filed additional charges against the adults in the group and new information was revealed. It is alleged by one of the new foster parents of a child from the camp that Wahhaj had “trained the child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings.”

Additionally, prosecutors in court filings have informed the court that it was their belief that the children at the compound, who ranged in age from 1-15, had received advanced weapons training but offered no other details.

In court filings, prosecutors only said they believe the children received advanced weapons training and did not provide further details. The claims of weapons training were reportedly new information to family members involved in the situation, including Imam Wahhaj, who stated to media he was unaware of such activity.

All five adult suspects were arraigned on Wednesday in Taos, New Mexico, on 11 counts of child abuse related to the children on the compound. Forensic experts are still testing the skeletal remains of a child found to determine if it is Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who would have turned four this past Monday.

It must be asked since law enforcement strongly suspected that Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj was on the compound, why was building a case against possible Muslim extremists more important than the life of a medically fragile Black child?

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.