July 28, 2009 in Nation/World

Seven accused of plotting ‘jihad’

Mike Baker Associated Press
 

RALEIGH, N.C. – A father, his two sons and four other North Carolina men are accused of military-style training at home and plotting “violent jihad” through a series of terror attacks abroad, federal authorities said Monday.

Officials said the group was led by 39-year-old Daniel Patrick Boyd, who lived in an unassuming lakeside home in a rural area south of Raleigh, where he and his family walked their dog and operated a drywall business. But two decades ago, Boyd, who is a U.S. citizen, trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan and fought against the Soviets for three years before returning to the United States.

An indictment released Monday does not detail any specific terrorist plans or targets overseas, although it claims some of the defendants traveled to Israel in 2007 with the intent of waging “violent jihad” and returned home without success.

“These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home,” U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said. He would not give details of the alleged plots beyond what was in a news release and indictment.

The seven men made their first court appearances in Raleigh on Monday, charged with providing material support to terrorism. If convicted, they could face life in prison. Court documents charged that Boyd, also known as “Saifullah,” encouraged others to engage in jihad.

Boyd stopped attending worship services at a moderate mosque in the Raleigh area and instead began meeting for Friday prayers in his home, Holding said.

“These people had broken away because their local mosque did not follow their vision of being a good Muslim,” Holding said. “This is not an indictment of the entire Muslim community.”

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. Each was sentenced to have a foot and a hand cut off for the robbery, but the decision was later overturned.

Their wives told the Associated Press in an interview at the time that the couples had U.S. roots but the United States was a country of “kafirs” – Arabic for heathens.

Jim Stephenson, a neighbor of Daniel Boyd in Willow Spring, said he saw the family walking their dog in the neighborhood and that the indictment shocked the residents.

“We never saw anything to give any clues that something like that could be going on in their family,” Stephenson said.

No attorneys for the men were listed in court records.

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