Daniel Boyd: A Homegrown Terrorist?


Daniel Boyd: A Homegrown Terrorist?

To hear his neighbors tell it, Daniel Boyd is one of the most upstanding citizens of Willow Springs, North Carolina. “If he’s a terrorist, he’s the nicest terrorist I ever met in my life,” one resident told reporters after Boyd, a 39-year-old drywall contractor, was arrested on July 27 — along with six others, including his twenty-something sons, Dylan and Zakariya — for allegedly plotting “violent jihad” overseas. According to the indictment, Boyd has spent the past three years stockpiling weapons in his rural home, recruiting and training would-be suicide bombers and orchestrating trips to Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Kosovo to scout potential attack sites. Some residents remain unconvinced despite the details of the 14-page indictment. “The government came and took away perfectly good people,” one neighbor told the press. “And it’s going to take a whole lot of evidence to convince me otherwise.” If convicted, Boyd and his sons face life in prison.

Fast Facts:

• One of five boys born to Thornton Boyd, a U.S. Marine, and his wife, Patricia. The pair divorced in 1977. His mother later re-married a Washington lawyer and American Muslim named William Saddler. Though Boyd was raised in the Episcopalian faith, he converted to Islam shortly after graduating from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

• Married to his high school sweetheart, Sabrina. The couple, also known as Umm Mohammed and Saifullah Abu Laith, wed at a mosque at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sabrina reportedly decided to convert to Islam just hours before the wedding.

• Moved to Pakistan in 1989 to do relief work with Afghanistan’s mujaheddin rebels. According to the indictment, Boyd spent the following three years training in Pakistan and Afghanistan with the guerillas attempting to topple the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

• Convicted, along with his brother, Charles, of stealing 80,000 rupees from a bank in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1991. The men were sentenced to have their right hands and left feet cut off, but the State Department later convinced the Pakistani Supreme Court to overturn the convictions.

• Allegedly traveled to Israel with one of his sons in 2006 and again in 2007. During their second trip, they were denied entry and detained for two days. Boyd’s wife insists the trip was a holy pilgrimage, but U.S. authorities claim Boyd was attempting to contact radical jihadists in Palestine. That same year, his 16-year-old son, Luqman, was killed in a car accident near the family’s home.

• Stopped attending local mosques earlier this year because of “ideological differences,” and began hosting Friday prayer services at his home, prosecutors say.

Quotes About:

“My husband was not plotting. It’s premature for everyone to jump on the guilty bandwagon.”
— Daniel Boyd’s wife, Sabrina, calling the charges bogus

“It’s clear from the indictment that the overt acts in the conspiracy were escalating.”
— U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding, accusing Boyd of practicing military tactics with his sons and other recruits on private property near Raleigh over the past two months

“How many Christians you see standing in the yard praying five times a day They just believed more than anyone else.”
— Jeremy Kuhn, Boyd’s neighbor, on the family’s devotion to Islam in a community of mostly Presybterians and Baptists

Quotes By:

“I was sipping a Pepsi and the next thing I knew I was in jail.” ”

— Daniel Boyd, to a Washington Post reporter in 1991 before the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned his bank robbery conviction

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