It took just a few minutes Thursday for the men to lower Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj’s small body, wrapped in white cloth, into the ground and bury him.
They used garden shovels to drop red clay under the pounding sun at a graveyard behind a mosque on the southside of Atlanta. Two little boys watched silently, holding hands, not far from the mother of the child who was being covered in the earth. She said her thoughts bounded between grief, thankfulness for the people supporting her and comfort in the thought that, one day, as the imam had just said, she would meet her son again in paradise.
Abdul-Ghani died earlier this year on a secluded desert compound in northern New Mexico set up by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40. He has been accused of teaching children there to commit violence in the name of Islam. His lawyer has denied the allegations, saying he’s misunderstood because he’s black and Muslim.
Prosecutors believe the child may have died because, rather than given him seizure medicine, the dad performed rituals to rid him of evil spirits.
It was a tragic end to a life of struggle. In his very first moments of life, oxygen was slow getting to his brain, which caused brain damage and hampered his health: seizures, cognitive and developmental delays.
Mother Hakima Ramzi, according to family, doted over him and took him as he was.