Police claim that five alleged Muslim radicals have been training children at a remote compound in New Mexico to carry out school shootings. If these allegations are true, these are clearly people we don’t want on our streets. Still, New Mexico Judge Sarah Backus doesn’t believe that they are a danger to the community and has released them on a personal recognizance bond.
Prosecutors and Governor Susana Martinez have slammed the move. Prosecutors allege that at least some members of the group were actively training the children to use weapons and were plotting to conduct a string of school shootings. One of the men took several weapons-training classes and possessed books on how to build firearms.
Prosecutors also claim that one suspect, Siraj Wahhaj, had received a letter from his brother inviting him to come to New Mexico so he could die as a martyr.
Gov. Susana Martinez also strongly disagreed with releasing the suspects. Meanwhile, Christian leader Rev. Franklin Graham warned that ” [the suspects] need to be in a place where they can’t do any more harm.”
Eleven children, ages 1-15, were found on the compound, living in squalid conditions. At least one other child died during a prayer ritual apparently meant to cast out demons. His remains were found on the compound grounds.
FBI interviews with the older children from the compound allege that the other children were told that the slain child would return as Jesus. In Islam, Jesus is considered a prophet and will return in the “end days.” Once “Jesus” returned and identified targets of corruption, apparently the children were to carry out attacks.
The children are currently in state custody. They were found to be malnourished. The alleged radical Islamists haven’t been charged with terrorism statutes but each faces 11 accounts of child abuse. They were released on $20,000 signature bonds, meaning they didn’t have to put up money to receive bail.
It’s hard to form a concrete opinion given that much of the evidence presented to the public is circumstantial. Hopefully, Judge Backus is privy to information that demonstrated that the suspects are not a danger to the community. Backus has apparently been receiving death threats over her controversial decision to release the suspects.