With shock and malaise, Americans are discovering that their country is penetrated by jihadi terrorists, particularly those we call "homegrown." Over the past few months, several alarming cases have been revealed by law enforcement. Not only the frequency of these revelations but also the type of jihadi cells are teaching the public that something very troubling is happening within the homeland: the surge of a threat deserving a greater attention than the current attitude dispensed by the administration.
The arrest of Daniel Patrick Boyd, a married 39-year-old, his two sons, and four other “jihadis” in a rural area south of Raleigh, N.C., is not a little matter in our global analysis of the movement within the United States. “Saifullah,” the jihadi name of Boyd; his two sons, Zakariya, 20, and Dylan, 22; Mohammed Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziad Yaghi, 21, are all U.S. citizens. Hysen Sherifi, 24, a Kosovo national, is a legal resident.
According to government documents (we only read the published ones), this was a group based in the U.S. training and readying to perform “jihad” overseas, like a Virginia predecessor group arrested some eight years ago and charged with using paintball training camps to “strike at targets in the sub Indian continent.” Based on this data alone the North Carolina cell is a combatant group committed to “terror war.” By reviewing this data however and comparing it with the multiple cells dismantled over several years, particularly over the past few months, the matter is more serious.
Furthermore, even though the courts will struggle with defense attorneys’ expected tactics to portray the jihadists as enamored with a “foreign cause,” many in the counterterrorism community would not buy this version. All the hallmarks indicate (based on the published information) that the case is more ominous than thought to be by average citizens. The legal proceedings will take their course and justice will be served in court, but the bigger picture, the troubling questions related to this country’s national security must be addressed seriously and fast, as we read into this case.
“Saifullah” Boyd (the sword of Allah in Arabic) is 39. He is said to have served with Hezb-e-Islami in Afghanistan and Pakistan between 1989 and 1992. This means that this American citizen switched to jihadi ideology and committed to military action at least 12 years before 9/11. It also means that he was still fighting with the jihadists three years after the withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan in February, 1989. Who was he fighting against and for what goal?
The answer is that he has joined the “international cause” of jihadism that is to perform strikes wherever the “cause” will take him against the kuffars infidels, including on his native soil. He was 19 when he was “recruited” to war activities. At the time of arrest, the members of the cell were 20, 21, 22, 22, and 24.
On 9/11, these jihadists were between the age of 10 and 13. Who over the decade indoctrinated them, recruited them, and trained them? Even more daring is to ask who is indoctrinating children age 10 and above to jihadism within the United States. It would be hard to believe that Boyd was the only jihadi instructor in the country.
“Saifullah” of North Carolina spent his 20s and 30s (or so we know) in his rural home. His neighbors saw him walking the dog and never heard him threatening anyone, per the media reports. By popular American standards he would be a regular guy. But by jihadi doctrine he was performing taqiyya. Combatants “in the path of Allah,” as instructed by ideologues to “fake” normalcy, and lie if needed, about their real beliefs so that the deception of the enemy is full.
The question is how many other American “Saifullahs” are practicing taqiyya and since when? Are the urban jihadists in numbers greater than what we think or our defense and national security institutions thinks? How many U.S.-born terror combatants have been able to perform perfect taqiyya for 10 or 20 years until today? Does our government know what this doctrine is all about and, more importantly, are authorities educating the body of our defense apparatus regarding this stealthy threat dormant among us?
Steps to be taken
In view of this benchmark discovery in the aftermath of a series of jihadi arrests performed by law enforcement this year, all indicating that a “jihadi system” is expanding inside the country I strongly recommend the following steps: That the Department of Homeland Security quickly issues an assessment of this growing urban jihadi web and forms a task force to study the depth of the penetration on a national scale. That the president speaks on the issue of the arrest as a national security breach and warns the public from possible other urban cells growing and operating in America. President Barack Obama must not ignore what is becoming a direct national security threat to the American people. Congress must reconvene a bipartisan national security commission, similar to the 9/11 Commission, to propose appropriate measures and laws to combat this lethal indoctrination of adults and children, most of whom are American citizens.
This North Carolina taqiya cell, and the last few cases of arrests this year, raises a real red flag. We are now meeting the “army of jihad” here at home, and it is growing. It must be addressed before it will be too late.
Dr Walid Phares is the director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of “The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.” To view his Web site go here now.
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