The full details of the “domestic incident” that led the father of Ahmed Khan Rahami to report him to the FBI as a potential terrorist have now been revealed after multiple information demands from local and national media.
Rahami spent three months in jail after attacking his 15-year-old sister “for no apparent reason” and stabbing his brother in the thigh.
Police have released the details of the report following requests from New Jersey 101.5 and the Associated Press after the dispute in question became an essential part of the understanding of law enforcement’s treatment of the case. The FBI and local police have asserted that they did everything they could to monitor the suspect and that preventing him from going on a bombing spree was impossible.
“It’s not realistic to say every time somebody comes on the radar, we’re going to be able to follow them or their friends and associates for an extended period of time,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said of the case last week. “We will try and do as much as we can, but we will not be able to stop everything,” FBI Executive Assistant Director Mike Steinbach similarly argued.
Mohammad Rahami, the terrorist’s father, has argued that the FBI “didn’t do their job” when he reported his son as a “terrorist.” FBI officials have said that they did not find any actionable evidence against Ahmed, though they did not interview him, even though he was in jail for three months and readily available. The investigation occurred after Rahami spent over a year in Afghanistan and Pakistan, staying in the Taliban-controlled city of Quetta.
The time Rahami spent in jail followed battery charges against him that his family later dropped. The incident occurred in 2014, when he abruptly interrupted his Muslim prayer to hurl a projectile at his sister Zobydha Rahami. He then emptied a water bottle on her and cursed at her, hitting her. His brother, Nasim, and mother intervened. Ahmed then attacked them both, hitting his mother with a phone cable charger and stabbing his brother, who attempted to control him with a chokehold.
The police report is based on Zobydha Rahami’s testimony. She later refused to press charges, forcing police to let Ahmed go. Zobydha Rahami is now 19 years old and a student at Rutgers University and not considered a potential conspirator with her brother. Elder sister Aziza, however, has been revealed to have made multiple public statements in favor of jihad on Facebook. Police also found a video of Ahmed Rahami testing an explosive in the family’s backyard behind their business, First American Fried Chicken, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is unclear which of Rahami’s many siblings’ phones contained the video in question.
Mohammad Rahami has insisted his son Ahmed acted alone, and there was no way of him knowing that his son was building weapons in the family apartment because he placed a lock on his bedroom door. Ahmed had the materials for bombs delivered to a business he had ties to in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, not to the Elizabeth house. The elder Rahami himself has been described as a devout Muslim who reportedly made his son travel to Pakistan and stranded him there when Ahmed became too assimilated into Western culture.
Ahmed Rahami made multiple trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan after that initial visit, however, including one where investigators say he may have spent time in a Taliban-linked madrasa.