A judge has denied Maria Mena a request to change her daughter’s last name after the girl’s father, Ahmed Khan Rahami, allegedly executed multiple jihadist bombings throughout the New York/New Jersey area, injuring 31.
Mena made multiple court requests in light of Rahami’s arrest on Monday. The Union County court granted her sole custody of their daughter and a request for a restraining order for the child, but did not grant Mena’s request to change the girl’s last name.
Mena and Rahami dated in high school and had a child as teenagers. They shared custody of the child legally before Rahami was arrested on Monday, suspected of conducting a terror spree throughout the region. Mena told the court, however, that she had not spoken to Rahami since January and had not met with him physically for some time, and that he had serially failed to pay her child support.
Rahami owes Mena nearly $7000 in overdue child support since 2008.
Mena told the court she was requesting sole custody and a restraining order because Rahami “has been charged with police attempted murder and is currently under protective services after possible terrorist related activity in NYC.” Rahami now cannot contact the child until September 27, when another hearing will take place. Rahami is currently hospitalized in Newark after a shootout with police in Linden, NJ on Monday.
Speaking to Fox News on Monday, when her name had not yet been revealed, the Edison, New Jersey woman said that she feared Rahami would try to indoctrinate their child with radical Islamic views. She said she “didn’t want him to see [her] daughter” and feared “he would try to take [her] daughter.”
Mena shared an alarming anecdote with Fox News in which she once caught Rahami teaching their daughter that U.S. soldiers were “the bad people.” “He seemed standoffish to American culture, but I never thought he would cross the line,” she said.
Rahami has been charged with planting multiple weapons of mass destruction: a bomb in Seaside Park, NJ; two in Chelsea, New York; and five in the Elizabeth, New Jersey train station. Rahami wrote extensively about his desire to die committing acts of jihad in a notebook found on following his arrest on Monday.
Those who knew Rahami said that, as a teenager, he was outgoing and embraced Western culture, despite being born in Afghanistan. When he impregnated a teen girl, his father reportedly forced him on a trip back home with the entire family, and reportedly stole his passport and left, abandoning him in Pakistan. Multiple acquaintances tell CNN the received calls from Rahami at the time pleading for help in getting out of Pakistan.
Rahami returned to the region on multiple occasions, including an extensive visit of over a year from which he returned with a wife. Aziza Bibi Rahami reportedly returned to her native Pakistan shortly before Rahami is believed to have conducted his jihadist attacks, and has been escorted back to the United States since. Unlike her husband, Aziza Bibi Rahami has reportedly cooperated with police.
Maria Mena has released a statement through her attorney saying she was “deeply shocked and appalled at the recent incidents.”