WORCESTER, Mass. — The uncle of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed in a gun battle with police arrived at a funeral home Sunday to make arrangements for his burial.
Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., and three other men met with Worcester funeral home director Peter Stefan. The men who accompanied Tsarni plan to wash and perform Muslim burial rites on the body of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Stefan said.
Stefan said he has received calls from people criticizing him and calling him “un-American” for his willingness to handle Tsarnaev’s funeral.
“We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No,” he said. “We are burying a dead body. That’s what we do.”
Stefan said Tsarnaev’s uncle told him that he is anxious to bury his nephew.
“They just want to get it over with. They want to get him buried,” Stefan said.
Tsarni has denounced the acts that his nephews — Tamerlan and younger brother Dzhokhar — are accused of committing and has said that they have brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity. The brothers are ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago with their parents. The parents returned to Russia’s restive republic of Dagestan last year.