Joined: 09 Sep 2006
|Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:07 am Post subject: 7 charged with terrorism counts in North Carolina
|7 charged with terrorism counts in North Carolina
By Mandy Locke, Yonat Shimron and Josh Shaffer
JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
ALEIGH, N.C. — To those they lived among, seven men accused of an intricate terrorism plot lived simply, quietly and kindly.
To neighbors and friends, Daniel Boyd was a father who stopped his work at noon each day for prayer. Dylan Boyd, Daniel's son, was a college student at North Carolina State University who until last year worked as a clinical services tech at Wake Med Hospital in Raleigh. Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan was a newlywed whose father owns a Raleigh car dealership.
To federal authorities, these men and four others plotted to kill themselves and others in the name of their religion. Their activities, tracked by FBI agents over three years and detailed in federal indictments released Monday, tell of an elaborate scheme hatched in a quiet Johnston County neighborhood and non-descript apartment complexes across Raleigh and Cary.
Those arrested include Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, who was considered the ringleader of the group, and who fought with Afghan Muslims against the Soviets; Hysen Sherifi, 24; Anes Subasic, 33; Zakariya Boyd, 20; Dylan Boyd, 22; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21.
All but one of the defendants were American citizens. Sherifi was a native of Kosovo and was living in the United States legally.
All seven men are charged with conspiring to provide support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad. Each is expected to have a detention hearing later this week. Until then, they are being held without bond. They have not been appointed lawyers. Efforts to reach their families were unsuccessful Monday night.
Federal authorities stormed the defendants' homes Monday and arrested the men. Hours later, they stood before a federal magistrate and learned they could spend the rest of their lives in prison if found guilty of the charges against them. At nightfall, federal agents continued to search their homes, bringing several vans and dozens of agents to their quiet neighborhoods.
News of their arrests rattled those they had befriended.
"If he's a terrorist, he's the nicest terrorist I've ever met in my life," said Charles Casale, a neighbor to Boyd and his sons who often chatted with them. Casale said the senior Boyd often invited him and his wife to visit. When the two chatted near the pond that separated their properties, Boyd would excuse himself to pray when the sun reached its noon-day height.
Federal documents released Monday detail a half-dozen trips members of the group made to Israel and Pakistan. Investigators believe the men meant to wage a violent jihad, killing themselves and others in bombings meant to defend Muslims from oppression. All failed, for reasons not specified in federal documents.
Investigators say the Boyds stockpiled military-style weapons and trained at a rural property in Caswell County, on the Virginia border north of Alamance and Orange counties. They say Daniel Boyd split from his mainstream mosque in Raleigh this year over "ideological differences," according to the indictment.
A spokesman at the Islamic Center in Raleigh said he did not know these defendants, among an estimated 1,200 people who attend Friday services there. Hassan and Yaghi both attended Al-Iman School, which shares space with the Raleigh mosque, according to former teacher Samar Hindi. Most recently, Daniel Boyd had been attending Jamaat Ibad Ar-Rahman, a mosque in Durham.
"In our dealings, we found them to be people of good moral character," said Hisham Heda, board chairman at the Durham mosque.
Federal officials heralded the arrests as a victory and invoked memories of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some faraway land but can grow and fester right here at home," said George E.B. Holding, United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. "Terrorists and their supporters are relentless and constant in their efforts to hurt and kill innocent people across the globe."
According to the indictment, the men intended to become mujahedeen — holy warriors — and die as shadid, martyrs to the jihad.
The "jihad of the sword" is the struggle to defend the faith when it is under attack. Those performing jihad of the sword believe they are defending their fellow Muslims against oppression.
To neighbors in Johnston County, Daniel Boyd was a mild-mannered father who worked as a general contractor.
To U.S. intelligence officials, Boyd is an extremist with long, deep ties to terrorists in Afghanistan. Investigators blame the senior Boyd for "radicalizing others, mostly young Muslims or converts to Islam, to believe in fard 'ayn, the idea that violent jihad was a personal obligation on the part of every good Muslim," according to the indictment.
Daniel Boyd's childhood did not foreshadow his future. He graduated from high school in Northern Virginia and is the son of a U.S. Marine who was stationed at the base in Quantico for a period, according to news reports about Boyd.
After his parents divorced, though, Boyd converted to Islam when his mother remarried a Muslim man, according to a story in The Washington Post in 1991.
In 1989, Boyd, the high school sweetheart he married, Sabrina, and his brother moved to Pakistan to work with Afghanistan's mujahedeen rebels, who were fighting the Soviet-backed government of Kabul.
The Boyd brothers ran afoul of Pakistani authorities, who ordered they have their right hands and left feet cut off after they found them guilty of robbing a bank. Pakistan's supreme court overturned the convictions. The brothers came home to the United States.
During the past three years, the Boyds settled into a routine at their home in a new subdivision in Willow Spring, a crossroads community in northern Johnston County. Several generations of Boyds often gathered on their back porch, overlooking a pond that backed up to their home.
Their three sons went to West Johnston High School. They chatted with neighbors about vacations and religion.
In 2007, they lost a son, 16-year-old Luqman, in a single-car accident near their home.
Neighbors who watched their family buckle under the grief of Luqman Boyd's death questioned the impact. They couldn't help but blame the Boyds' troubles on such a traumatic loss.
"That was such a huge blow to the family," said Lorie Sienkwicz, a neighbor who often talked religion with Daniel Boyd. "We're all looking for reasons. That's mine."