Mohammad Rahami, father of New Jersey jihadist Ahmed Khan Rahami, has told ABC News that his wife and another son have been detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and flown back to their native Afghanistan, where they are currently detained.
Rahami has been charged with planting a series of bombs in Seaside Park and Elizabeth, New Jersey, and the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
The elder Rahami, speaking to ABC News, protested the return of his relatives to Afghanistan. He says his wife traveled to Afghanistan shortly before his son’s bombing spree for “dental work” and has been prevented from returning to the United States. Najiba Rahami and her son, Qassim, are being questioned regarding any potential knowledge of Ahmed Rahami’s plotting of Islamic terrorist attacks in Kabul, the Afghan capital.
“Why send my son back to Afghanistan? He is a U.S. citizen. You have any questions? Bring him home, [don’t] send him to a different country,” Mohammad Rahami protested regarding his son.
Rahami’s mother and brother left America just as Rahami began purchasing explosive materials on eBay in June. His wife, a Pakistani woman he married after an extended trip to the country in 2013, left the United States days before the Chelsea bombing. She was apprehended in the UAE as well and has since been escorted back to New York. She has been described as cooperative, though denying any involvement in the plot.
Police have found ample evidence Rahami was responsible for the three bombings, which injured 31 in New York. They have also found clues that indicate Rahami did not act alone, including a video found on a relative’s mobile phone showing Rahami detonating an explosive in the family’s backyard in Elizabeth.
At least one sister, Aziza Rahami, has publicly expressed her support of Sharia law and jihadist movements. Aziza Rahami has posted quotes by al-Qaeda terrorists and Muslim Brotherhood “no to democracy” memes on Facebook.
Mohammad Rahami told ABC News he categorically rejects the idea that other family members were involved in terrorism. “He buy everything by himself,” he said. “He did it by himself.” Shown the images Aziza Rahami posted on Facebook, he denied having any knowledge of her political views and described her as “a very good person.”
Ahmed Rahami, on the other hand, he referred to as “not a human being” and “not a Muslim.”
While the FBI has confirmed that Mohammad Rahami reported his son to the FBI as a potential terrorist, former friends of Rahami’s say his father’s stern Islamic influence severely corrupted him in high school. After he impregnated his high school girlfriend, a Dominican-American, the elder Rahami forced his son to go on a trip to Pakistan to reconnect with family and possibly find a Muslim wife. Multiple Rahami friends say the father stole his son’s passport and returned to America, stranding his son in a foreign country.
Rahami reported his son to the FBI after a domestic incident in which Ahmed Rahami attacked multiple family members and stabbed his brother Nasim. The details of that incident, in which Ahmed Rahami was arrested and jailed for three months but not charged, have only surfaced this week in response to multiple police requests by the Associated Press and local outlet New Jersey 101.5.
Rahami allegedly interrupted his own prayers to attack a younger sister, Zobydha, throwing a projectile and emptying a bottle of water on her head. He later threatened to beat her with a dumbbell and slapped her. When family members intervened, Ahmed Rahami “whipped” his mother and attacked his brother, who tried to contain him. Ahmed Rahami’s wife also tried futilely to stop him.
“Nasim and Rahami then get into a scuffle. Nasim placed Rahami into a chokehold and they fall to the floor, she said, which is when Rahami grabbed a knife from a coffee table and stabbed Nasim,” NJ 101.5 notes.