A representative of a New York mosque says the raid of a ramshackle compound in New Mexico is being used as propaganda against Muslims.
Ali Abdul-Karim Judan, a spokesman for the mosque, said in a video posted Thursday on Facebook that the incident was a domestic situation that has nothing to do with extremism.
The grandfather of a severely disabled boy, who authorities say was kidnapped by his father and taken to the compound, has said remains found there are those of his grandson.
The man is an imam at the New York mosque.
Judan also cast doubt on a contention by prosecutors that children found at the site were being trained to use assault rifles in preparation for school shootings.
He said authorities should not have made that claim without stronger evidence.
The mosque has attracted radicals over the years, including a man who later helped bomb the World Trade Center in 1993.
An attorney for the mother of a Georgia boy says the woman had no idea what might have driven her husband to take the child to a desert compound in New Mexico.
Authorities say Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (ahb-DOOL’ GAH’-nee wah-HAJ’) was kidnapped by his father in December in Jonesboro, Georgia, near Atlanta.
His grandfather has said remains found at the compound are those of his grandson.
M. Khurram Baig, an attorney representing the boy’s mother, Hakima Ramzi, said Thursday that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj did not show any tendencies toward violence during his relationship with Ramzi.
The lawyer said Ramzi was stunned to learn about the raid on the compound and reports about the treatment of children there.
The lawyer said Wahhaj “is not the gentleman that she married or knew as a father of her son.”
“At some point something changed,” he said.
The grandfather of children found at a New Mexico compound says he was able to report their whereabouts to authorities after his daughter sent a note from the location asking for food.
Siraj Wahhaj, who leads a New York City mosque, says 11 children found at the compound Friday were either his biological grandchildren or members of his family through marriage.
His grown children are among the five adults arrested on child abuse charges following a raid at the site.
He said Thursday that his daughter sent the note for food to a man in Atlanta, and that man notified him. Wahhaj says he then informed police.
The Taos County sheriff has said the message stating people were starving helped him seek a warrant to enter the compound in search of the missing boy.
Wahhaj says the boy is his grandson, and his remains were found Monday at the compound.
The search for the boy led authorities to the New Mexico compound last week.
Imam Wahhaj says “whoever is responsible … should be held accountable.”
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