By Dante Strobino
On July 27 seven young Muslim men were arrested in Wake County and indicted in the Eastern District of North Carolina’s federal court on terrorism charges. An eighth man is currently being hunted in Pakistan. All were charged with conspiring to provide support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people abroad.
The FBI claims that Daniel Boyd is the “ringleader” who attended a “training camp” in Afghanistan that schooled extremists such as Osama Bin Laden. Federal investigators used the “war on terrorism”—really a war on Muslims and Arabs—to claim that the men’s religious views were sufficiently relevant to believe they were planning violent actions, including a suicide mission, in Israel and Pakistan.
Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39; Hysen Sherifi, 24; Anes Subasic, 33; Zakariya Boyd, 20; Dylan Boyd, 22; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22; and Ziyad Yaghi, 21, were all indicted. An alleged cache of guns collected by Boyd and alleged arms training in rural Caswell County were also used to justify their arrest. (Raleigh News & Observer, July 27)
Given the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine and continued U.S. military and political support of aggressor-state Israel, it is justifiable to be angry at imperialist adventures in the Middle East. Daniel Boyd recently distanced himself from the mosque in Raleigh and imams in Durham because he had differing political views about supporting struggles in the Middle East. Now Boyd’s political position is being used as “evidence” that he is a “violent jihadist.”
The main indictment comes after years of surveillance by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, who witnessed several young Muslim men congregating around a shop owned by Boyd in Garner, N.C. Recently, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a “Gang Prevention Act” that defines gangs as anyone wearing shirts of the same colors. Police carrying out rampant brutality against young African-American men use similarly vague legal language.
Sensational media hype and anti-Muslim post-9/11 hysteria swarm around this case, making a fair trial for the eight men impossible. WRAL, News 14 and other local media have interviewed random neighbors of the Boyds and aired racist and anti-Muslim assumptions. One neighbor said he heard Arab-sounding music coming from the home, as if this were relevant evidence to the charge of supporting terrorism.
The media took the racism so far as to draw out Boyd’s past relationship to historically Black Shaw University. The News & Observer claimed Daniel Boyd “quit America in 1989” and referred to his family as a “clan.” (Aug. 2) WRAL and others felt it necessary to point out that Boyd’s middle name, “Saifullah,” means “sword of God.”
Media accounts also focused on the youth dropping out of high school or not finishing college and working at the Islamic center in Raleigh. In a press conference on July 28, the Muslim American Society stated, “This case should be litigated in the federal court, not the court of public opinion, and this litigation is not related to the Muslim community as an entity.”
This case comes on the heels of years of healing following attacks the Muslim community faced after 9/11. The weekend before the arrests, the Islamic Association of Raleigh hosted a public event, “Meet Your Muslim Neighbor.” It drew 600 people, including two Congress members, one cabinet secretary and several mayors, and was intended to combat anti-Muslim stereotypes and attacks. These arrests serve to set back these efforts.
In a further abuse of power just before the arrest, officers told Daniel Boyd’s spouse, Sabrina Boyd, that her husband and sons had been injured in a car crash. She was led to Duke Hospital, where she was separated from her daughters, handcuffed and told to cooperate with the investigation. The Council of American-Islamic Relations is calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate this cruel trick.
Attacks on immigrants, Muslims and oppressed people in general by talk-show hosts like Lou Dobbs and white supremacists like former Congressperson Tom Tancredo are whipping up reactionary hate groups around the country, who feed on the anger and fear caused by the growing economic crisis. These public media trials of alleged terrorism suspects serve to heighten the attacks on oppressed communities and destroy their organizations.
Only with multinational unity—by challenging and exposing the real incentives of U.S. imperialism to further divide and conquer the entire planet—will justice ever be won.