Tales of magic, resurrection, gun training as bail granted for Muslim group

Siraj Wahhaj the father of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, 3, disabled and taken from Georgia (Image Source: Taos County Sheriff’s Office and Clayton County Sheriff’s Office)

The story of a group of Muslims and the death of a 3-year-old child on a makeshift New Mexico compound is getting even stranger. Last week, rolling out reported the story of Atlanta area man Siraj Wahhaj, 39, who took his medically fragile son, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, 3, from his home in Clayton County, Georgia. Wahhaj did not tell the boy’s mother where he was taking his son but after days passed, the boy’s mother contacted police.

At some point, Wahhaj, four adults, and another 11 children gathered to live off the grid at a makeshift compound. The compound included a firing range and residents in the area claimed they could hear gunshots. Over the next few months, the FBI and local law enforcement were aware that Wahhaj was on the compound and a small child matching the description Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj was seen limping around the camp. It was not until a tip that the people in the compound were without food and water that the police took action and rescued the kids, whose ages ranged from 1-15, and the other adults. Police later found a body which is now being identified as Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. Finally, members of the group are starting to speak and they are telling stories that include claims of sorcery, exorcism, the return of Jesus and the assault on corrupt institutions,

During interviews, various members from the compound stated that Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj would often foam at the mouth as his father prayed over him. It is alleged that Siraj Wahhaj refused to give his son the medication he needed for brain seizures, believing instead that the boy was possessed by demons. Jany Leveille, 35, who was identified as “Wahhaj’s Muslim wife” by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, stated to authorities that she believed Abdul-Ghani was really her son. She claimed the boy’s mother used dark magic to steal the child from her womb.

Law enforcement claim the kids and some of the adults stated that Abdul-Ghani died after a seizure during a prayer ritual and his body was washed, cleaned and prepared for burial in the Muslim tradition. Police stated they found the boy’s body wrapped in linen inside one of the tunnels on the compound. Children were told to keep praying for Abdul-Ghani because he was going to come back from the dead as Jesus. He would then instruct the children, who had been receiving firearms training, about which corrupt organizations to attack.

Yesterday, Taos County Judge Sarah Backus heard the troubling allegations and testimony and granted the five adults a bond of $20K each while they await trial on 11 charges of child neglect. Judge Backus does not believe the adults are a threat to the community and made the stipulation that they wear an ankle monitor, get stable housing in the county and have only supervised visitation with the children from the compound.

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.