So what’s up with those seven men arrested yesterday and charged with plotting to wage “violent Jihad”?
The ringleader appears to be Daniel Boyd, 39, a North Carolina man who runs a drywall business, and who about 20 years ago had traveled to Afghanistan as a Muslim convert to fight the Soviet Union. According to the government, Boyd recruited six men — including two of his sons — to participate in a scheme “to advance violent jihad, including supporting and participating in terrorist activities abroad and committing acts of murder, kidnapping or maiming persons abroad.”
The Feds have said they’re still searching for one additional suspect, who recently went to Pakistan.
The group, say prosecutors, practiced military tactics and the use of weapons in North Carolina. They also went to Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Kosovo hoping “to engage in violent jihad.”
As so often in these cases, there’s a bit of a Keystone Kops flavor to the alleged plotters’ activities. On the Gaza trip, according to the indictment, Boyd tried to enter Palestine in 2006, in order to introduce his son to some jihadis. And on a 2007 trip to Israel, Boyd and some of the other men tried “to engage in violent jihad,” but failed, and returned home to the U.S.
Not to say they didn’t exhibit a serious intent to do harm. From the indictment:
In February 2008, Daniel Boyd allegedly solicited money to fund the travel of additional individuals overseas to engage in violent jihad and in March 2008, discussed with Anes Subasic preparations to send two individuals abroad for this purpose. He allegedly accepted $500 in cash from defendant Hysen Sherifi to be used to help fund jihad overseas and later showed Sherifi how to operate an AK-47 assault weapon.
There’s also an ironic undertone in Boyd’s history. The AP has reported:
In 1991, Boyd and his brother were convicted of bank robbery in Pakistan — accused of carrying identification showing they belonged to the radical Afghan guerrilla group, Hezb-e-Islami, or Party of Islam. They were each sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the sentenced was later overturned.
The Washington Post reported at the time that Boyd was then a young American convert to Islam, heading with his wife to Afghanistan to engage in a Holy War. But as the New York Times now notes, the U.S. was at that time backing the Party of Islam in its fight against the Soviets.
In addition to Daniel Boyd, the other six men charged are his sons, Zakariya Boyd, 20 and Dylan Boyd, 22 — as well as Anes Subasic, 33, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, Ziyad Yaghi, 21, and Hysen Sherifi, 24. All are American citizens except Sherifi, who is from Kosovo but is a permanent legal resident of the United States.
One final note: it’s hard not to notice how the Obama administration’s relatively understated approach to these indictments contrasts with its predecessor’s strategy of hyping the arrest of every loser who ever praised Osama bin Laden as a major breakthrough in the war on terror.