Suspected New York City bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami’s family has a history of radicalism that includes a brother who propagated 9/11 conspiracy theories and was an adherent of one of the most famous Islamic hate preachers.
Rahami’s brother Mohammad is known to have posted jihadi content to Facebook, including an image of terrorists training with the words “I bring the men who desire death as ardently as you desire life” superimposed on it. The image is commonly associated with radical Islamist websites and forums.
Last month, Mohammad posted a video that suggested the attacks on September 11, 2001, were a conspiracy perpetrated by the U.S. government. He also appears to be a follower of the infamous American Islamist hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, having frequently posted the imam’s videos. Al-Awlaki’s hate preaching is a favorite propaganda tool among self-radicalized jihadis, such as Orlando shooter Omar Mateen and Ft. Hood attacker Nidal Hasan.
Like Ahmad, another Rahami brother traveled to Pakistan, though it is unclear if it was the same Mohammad, given that two of the brothers share the same name.
The Rahami’s father, also named Mohammad, does not appear to share the radical tendencies of his sons. He brought the family to the U.S. from his native Afghanistan in 1995, opening up a fried chicken shop some years later. Neighbors say the family appeared to be fairly westernized, but began to dress in more traditional clothing before the attacks occurred. The Rahamis filed a lawsuit against the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey in 2011 over a dispute regarding their restaurant’s late hours, but had few problems with the community otherwise.
Ahmad Rahami was taken into police custody Monday morning, while five members of his family were stopped and questioned by authorities Sunday night. His Pakistani wife’s whereabouts are currently unclear, as she left the U.S. just days before the attacks.
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