Bomb suspect’s uncle, in Mass., says he knows ‘no one wants to associate … with such evil’

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.

Racist fear in Birmingham murder of Muslim grandfather

A racist killer was feared to be on the loose in Birmingham last night after a 75-year-old Muslim, retired baker with five daughters, two sons and 22 grandchildren, Mohammed Saleem had lived in Little Green Lane, Small Heath, Birmingham, with his wife, for 40 years. The man was murdered on his way home from evening prayer. Mr Saleem, who walked with a stick, was knifed four times in the back so viciously on Monday night that the wounds penetrated his chest. The man had no “defensive wounds”, was not robbed and his family have said there was no reason they knew why anyone would want to hurt him.

 

Yesterday, West Midlands Police launched a public appeal to trace a suspect caught on CCTV near the scene of the attack, which detectives believe could be racially motivated.

Bombing suspect’s wife to allow family to claim his body and the attempt to hold a Muslim funeral

The widow of suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev said Tuesday she would let other family members claim his body, which has been kept at the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for more than a week.
Under Islamic law, Muslims are customarily buried shortly after they die, normally within a day. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, has not claimed the body and the state refused to release the body to other family members without her permission.
In an emotional interview Tuesday, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, had complained that officials were not allowing the family to bury him.
“The body should have been buried,” Anzor Tsarnaev said by telephone from Russia. “What else can you do with a dead body?”
Tsarnaev expressed sadness about the bombings, even as he dismissed the charges against his sons as a fabrication. He said he had left his home in Dagestan for another part of Russia, which he did not disclose, with his ex-wife, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Tsarnaev complained that his relatives were having trouble claiming Tamerlan’s body, apparently not realizing that his son’s widow was required to first give them permission.
On Tuesday, an uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers contacted Al-Marhama, a non-profit Muslim funeral and burial service, for help with funeral arrangements for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, said Ismail Fenni, assistant imam of the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge.
Al-Marhama notified Fenni, who said he called the uncle and assured him that people affiliated with the Cambridge mosque, where the brothers occasionally prayed, would be willing to assist.
“I know many of the members of our community want to help,” he said. “We feel for the family. They obviously are going through a hard time.”
Fenni said mosques typically do not handle funerals and burials. Families are referred to funeral homes, he said, and, often with the help of volunteers from the community or Al-Marhama, the body is cleansed and shrouded in preparation for burial. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury, which is owned by the same organization as the Cambridge mosque but run separately, also has facilities for preparing bodies for burial.
Fenni said the uncle had no details about the family’s wishes. Fenni did not know whether Tamerlan’s body would be shipped overseas or buried here, or what kind of service the family wants, if any.
The Tsarnaevs have not contacted the cultural center, Boston’s largest mosque. If asked, Imam William Suhaib Webb would refuse to pray over Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the cultural center.
But both Webb and Fenni say it is the Muslim community’s obligation to bury its dead.
“The deceased is still a human being, and from the humanitarian side, we have to at least give him the rite of burial, regardless of what he has done,” Fenni said.

Three arrested for allegedly helping suspect after Boston bombings

Three friends of one of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were charged Wednesday with interfering with the investigation after the attack.
The three were identified as friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who has been charged with carrying out the bombings along with his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. The younger brother was a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the same school attended by the three people charged with helping him after the bombings, according to authorities.

The friends were identified in a federal complaint as Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19-year-old students from Kazahkstan, and Robel Phillipos, also 19. The two Kazakh students were accused of “knowingly destroying, concealing, and covering up” a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks that belonged to Tsarnaev. Phillipos was charged with lying to federal investigators.

The two Kazakhs have been in the United States on student visas and attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth along with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Phillipos. The two Kazakhs were taken into custody April 20 on charges of violating their visas.
According to the affidavit, shortly after the FBI released photographs and video of the two bombing suspects late on the afternoon of April 19, the three friends went to Tsarnaev’s room at UMass-Dartmouth. While they were there, Tsarnaev sent a text message to Kadyrbayev saying, “I’m about to leave if you need something in my room take it.”
They noticed a backpack containing fireworks that had been opened and emptied of explosive powder. “Kadyrbayev knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” said Cieplik.
Kadyrbayev later told the FBI that he removed the fireworks “in order to help his friend,” and that he also took Tsarnaev’s computer and a jar of Vaseline that he thought might have been used to make bombs, according to the complaint. All three later decided to throw the backpack and computer into a dumpster near the apartment shared by Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov in New Bedford, Mass., according to the complaint. The affidavit said that Kadyrbayev put the material into the dumpster.
Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev face maximum sentences of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Phillipos faces a maximum sentence of eight years and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.
At a brief initial appearance this afternoon in US District Court in Boston, Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev waived their right to a bail hearing. They will appear in court again May 14. In a separate hearing, Phillipos also waived his right to a bail hearing. Another hearing was slated in his case for Monday.
Phillipos’s attorney, Derege Demissie, said Phillipos had nothing to do with the actions of Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev and had simply made a “misrepresentation” to authorities.
F.B.I. investigators have continued to focus on Tamerlan Tasarnaev’s widow, Kathryne Russell, to see if she played any role in in the attack or in helping him and his brother try to cover up their actions, knowingly or unknowingly.

Coulter: Boston suspect’s widow ‘ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab’

Appearing on Fox News Republican talk show “Hannity” Monday night, right-wing columnist Ann Coulter said she’s sad that not only does she think the Boston bombing should shut down the nation’s immigration reform debate, she would like to see the alleged bomber’s widow in jail too, not for committing a crime but for “wearing a hijab.” “I don’t care if she knew about this,” Coulter said. “She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab. This immigration policy of us, you know, assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture. Did she get a clitorectomy too?” Hannity seemed momentarily puzzled at the sudden citation of female genital mutilation, stammering his reply. “I, uh, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said before confidently adding: “But your point is well taken.”

Body of Boston Marathon suspect still being held BOSTON (AP)

The body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev (TA’-mehr-luhn tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) is still being held by the Massachusetts medical examiner. Tsarnaev died Friday after a gun battle with police. Authorities have said his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-KHAHR’), ran over him as he fled. Dzhokhar was later apprehended in Watertown and has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. He could face the death penalty. A spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Wednesday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body is still in the medical examiner’s custody. He wouldn’t comment on whether Tsarnaev’s wife has asked to claim the body. Authorities say the brothers planted two bombs near the finish line of the marathon April 15. Three people were killed and more than 200 were wounded.

 

Aunt: Boston bombings suspect struggled with Islam MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP)

The elder suspect in the Boston bombings regularly attended a mosque and spent time learning to read the Quran, but he struggled to fit in during a trip to his ancestral homeland in southern Russia last year, his aunt said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev seemed more American than Chechen and ‘‘did not fit into the Muslim life’’ in Russia’s Caucasus, Patimat Suleimanova told The Associated Press. She said when Tsarnaev arrived in January 2012, he wore a winter hat with a little pompom, something no local man would wear, and ‘‘we made him take it off.’’ After returning from Russia, Tsarnaev made his presence known at a Boston-area mosque, where his outbursts interrupted two sermons that encouraged Muslims to celebrate American institutions such as the July 4 Independence Day and figures like Martin Luther King Jr., according to the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center. During one incident congregants shouted at him, telling him to leave, the center said in a statement released Monday. His mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told the AP that her son greatly enjoyed his time with her relatives, but never traveled to her native village in a mountainous region of Dagestan, which is a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Wahabbism. Wahabbism was introduced to the Caucasus in the 1990s by preachers and teachers from Saudi Arabia. The mother said her relatives now all live in Makhachkala and the town of Kaspiisk. She refused to say which mosque her son frequented, but Tsarnaev’s parents and aunt firmly denied that he met with militants or fell under the sway of religious extremists.

 

Mysterious ‘Misha’ found in R.I. town; denies influencing Marathon bomb suspect, according to published report WEST WARWICK, R.I.

The mysterious “Misha,” a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev described by the bombing suspect’s relatives as a zealous conservative Muslim who helped radicalize Tamerlan, has been found in this Rhode Island town. But Mikhail “Misha” Allakhverdov told the New York Review of Books Sunday that he had nothing to do with the bombings, that he did not steer Tamerlan toward violence, and that he had not seen him since he moved away from Boston about three years ago. “If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov, 39, told the publication. The Review of Books published a brief account of its interview with Allakhverdov on its blog Sunday night, saying the item was part of a longer piece on Boston’s Russian and Chechen community to be published in a forthcoming edition of the biweekly journal. Allakhverdov told the Review he was cooperating fully with law enforcement and that he had nothing to hide. A former brother-in-law of the Tsarnaev brothers, in an interview with the AP from Kyrgyzstan last week, described “Misha” as a red-bearded Armenian convert who exerted enormous influence over Tamerlan. Under his teaching, he said, according to the AP, Tamerlan gave up music, took an interest in conspiratorial websites, and became increasingly opposed to US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The AP reported that Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, recalled speaking with Tamerlan’s father about his concerns regarding Misha’s influence: “Somehow, he just took his brain,” Tsarni said.

Police: Man Menaced After Leaving Queens Mosque

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect who allegedly menaced a man as he left a Queens mosque.

The incident occurred after the victim left a mosque on Kissena Boulevard around 8 p.m. last Friday.

The suspect followed the victim for several blocks and pulled his SUV next to the victim’s vehicle at a traffic light at Union Turnpike and 199th Street, police said.

The suspect then displayed a firearm, threatened to kill the victim and made anti-Muslim statements before fleeing, police said.

Boston implications

Among the most insightful discussions of the Boston bombing case occurred on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. While Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still unable to speak due to his wounds, a number of themes are emerging in the aftermath of the rampage.

First is the startling revelation (for some) that we may have now migrated from large-scale terrorist assaults to al-Qaeda directed assaults to individuals independently radicalized by violent Islamic jihadism. David Remnick, Martha Raddatz, George Stephanopoulos and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, had this exchange:

Indeed, the link connecting lone individuals, jihadist ideology and the decision to engage in terrorist activities is so fine, and largely, invisible to authorities that it poses a huge challenge to national security experts. Such individuals are not in any real sense part of al-Qaeda and so the administration (if that is the pattern here) probably had no choice but to utilize the criminal justice system.

Raddatz summed up:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not going to be eradicated Martha Raddatz, but it does come at a time when the al Qaeda leadership top to bottom has been pretty well decimated.