Exclusive: NM Compound’s Links to Al-Qaeda

The New Mexico compound where cultish Islamist extremists were found; inset: American imam and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki (Photo: Clarion Project)
The New Mexico compound where cultish Islamist extremists were found; inset: American imam and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki (Photo: Clarion Project)

At least one of the women at the Islamist cult compound in New Mexico had links to al-Qaeda in that she was a big fan of al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, according to a public account from a Muslim activist and reports from sources who spoke to Clarion Project’s Clarion Intelligence Network.

One woman also reportedly claimed to be the mahdi, a figure in Islamic end times prophecy who is supposed to join forces with Jesus to win a final apocalyptic war that ends with global Islamic rule.

Anwar al-Awlaki was an American imam who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011. He became al-Qaeda’s biggest recruiter because of his English-language, digital magazine Inspire that provided instructions used for carrying out terrorist attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing, among other items of “inspiration.”

One source recalled seeing Imam Siraj Wahhaj, whose children and family members resided at the New Mexico compound, preach at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia when it was run by Anwar al-Awlaki.

 

Female Cult Leader

Since the story about the jihadi compound in New Mexico broke, the media has focused mainly on Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, the son of the Brooklyn-based Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who abducted his son, denied him his prescribed medication and performed an Islamic exorcism-type ritual on him. The boy, named Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, is believed to have died in February.

However, several sources say that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was not the ideological leader of the cult that housed themselves at the compound.

The actual leader was most likely a woman from Haiti named Jany Leveille, who cult members called “Maryam” (or Mary), a name adopted to equate her with a modern incarnation of the mother of Jesus. She is the second wife of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.

In 2017, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj went on a trip to Saudi Arabia. While there, he informed his wife (and mother of Abdul-Ghani) that he was divorcing her. It is unclear when he met Leveille, but a common pattern of radicalization involves meeting a spouse overseas followed by rapid life changes.

The sources that say Leveille was the leader of the cult say that Leveille claims to be in contact with Allah through the Angel Gabriel and claims to be the mahdi.

A Muslim activist named Umar Lee publicly stated that he heard from multiple sources that Leveille claimed to be the mahdi and the other adults at the compound believed her. Another Muslim he was speaking with, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, said he also was told the same thing.

During the court proceedings on August 13 where prosecutors unsuccessfully sought to deny bail to the cult members, it was revealed that Leveille believed that Abdul-Ghani was supposed to be her child but his birth mother stole him using black magic.

Leveille led the other compound members to believe that Abdul-Ghani would die and resurrect as Jesus and then identify the targets for them to violently attack with the objective of overthrowing the U.S. government and “corrupt” institutions.

According to these sources, it was Leveille who led Siraj Ibn Wahhaj to stop giving medication to his child.

Leveille and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj convinced two other adults at the compound, Subhanna Wahhaj (Siraj Ibn Wahha’s sister) and Lucas “Luqman” Morton, that she was an apocalyptic figure in touch with Allah.

Subhanna is married to Morton, who bought the 10 acres of land in New Mexico where the compound was built.

Morton lived in Brooklyn and other places in New York before moving to Marion, Iowa in 2016. He then moved to Georgia in 2017 and apparently lived there with Subhanna.

The fifth adult, Hujrah Wahhaj, is another sister of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. She is an author, motivational speaker and life coach.

She and Siraj Ibn Wahhaj ran a security-related business in Georgia. As we’ve reported, Islamist radicals sometimes set up security companies as a means of legally acquiring weapons and getting access to advanced weapons training.

 

Links to Al-Qaeda

The Clarion Intelligence Network heard from a number of sources that it was being said within the Muslim community that one or more of the women in the cult had expressed support for al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups (but not ISIS).

Muslim activist Umar Lee has written publicly that he used to be friends with Hujrah Wahhaj on Facebook and noticed her links to al-Qaeda. He said he saw her post a “long and eloquent status about her love of Anwar al-Awlaki.”

Lee’s statement provides specific information and evidence substantiating these reports.

However, the ideology of this cult would put it at odds with al-Qaeda, so it is probable that this affection for al-Awlaki was expressed before the cult was formed.

As mentioned before, one Muslim source recalled Imam Siraj Wahhaj preaching at a Virginia mosque when it was run by Anwar al-Awlaki.

 

New Information Linking Siraj Wahhaj to Al-Qaeda & Jamaat ul-Fuqra

A retired NYPD detective who worked undercover in its Terrorism Interdiction Unit has spoken out about the extremism surrounding Imam Siraj Wahhaj and his family.

“Wahhaj himself, [the] senior, was always espousing hatred for America. He wanted to start a caliphate government here, a Muslim government here,” he said.

He said that he witnessed guns being brought from Wahhaj’s mosque, after an intelligence tip from moderate Muslims who attended services there. Yet, no one was arrested for the firearms trafficking.

The detective and his supervisor sent a surveillance summary to a news outlet showing that the NYPD had Imam Wahhaj and his son—the one who later joined the New Mexico compound—under surveillance.

This document had new information: Imam Wahhaj’s radical mosque was attended by Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers. There is strong evidence that Anwar al-Awlaki was also linked to the hijackers and perhaps involved in the 9/11 attacks.

“Atta lived for a short time within 100 feet of this mosque prior to 9/11. Siraj Wahhaj Sr. was observed later entering the Al Farooq mosque on Atlantic Avenue, the mosque linked to the creation of al-Qaeda HQ in the U.S,” the detective and his supervisor said.

According to the NYPD documents, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj also flew to Saudi Arabia from New York City in 2004. During questioning, TSA agents detected Pentax, an ingredient used in bomb-making, on him. Yet, the TSA did not detain him.

The former NYPD detective also told the news outlet that the elder Wahhaj was linked to Islamist camps with “military-style training” in upstate New York and other states. He said that Wahhaj “was known to frequent these camps back in the 1990’s.”

The detective confirmed to us that he was referring to the “Islamberg” headquarters of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a jihadist cult that now uses the more benign name Muslims of the Americas.

In fact, the New Mexico cult’s behavior is remarkably similar to that of Fuqra. It is reasonable to assume that it was at least influenced by Fuqra’s beliefs and operations.

You can read more about Fuqra at Clarion Project’s comprehensive website at www.FuqraFiles.com , where we cover our ground-breaking research into the Fuqra group and the 22 “Islamic villages” it claims to have in America.

 

Expect More Revelations

Our law enforcement sources told us that we are still at the beginning of this story and that key questions remain unanswered, such as why this specific location in New Mexico was chosen and where the knowledge for its construction came from.

These sources are certain that other radical associates of the compound members remain at large.

A Muslim source connected to the African-American Muslim community in Georgia also told us that many people are telling disturbing stories about Imam Siraj Wahhaj and his family that they never felt comfortable expressing before. However, it is difficult to verify these accounts and rumors.

This source explained that many of these personal stories are only told privately to other Muslims, as it is frowned upon to publicly broadcast such stories, especially to non-Muslims and particularly when it relates to a prominent leader.

According to this source, the homeschooling of Wahhaj’s kids is coming under scrutiny.

“Those children never attended any school, not even Islamic school. They were home-schooled the Wahhaj way… Siraj Jr. was taught extremist religious beliefs by his father all of his life,” the source claimed.

View the accused and take a look inside the compound:

 

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Ryan Mauro
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.

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