By Joe Kaufman:
On Monday, April 15, Chechen-born Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar placed and detonated two shrapnel-packed pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three and hospitalizing over 200 others. As well, the two murdered a policeman, while trying to avoid capture. If the two had not been stopped when they were, according to the FBI, the brothers were headed for New York City to create further carnage. The motivation for the attacks were the brothers’ religious beliefs.
During preliminary interviews, following his arrest and the death of the older brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told authorities that the bombing had been carried out to “defend Islam,” which he said his brother believed was itself under attack by the United States. What brought the two former refugees to the point of plotting to brutally murder innocent civilians in their adopted country has been a matter of speculation. However, there are some relevant pieces of information that could be used as a basis to form a valid opinion on the matter.
On January 12, 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, flew into Moscow, Russia and, from there, spent the next six months travelling to locations in Chechnya and Dagestan, two areas known for heavy militant Islamic activity and both home to terror cells. While in Dagestan, Tsarnaev was seen making six visits to a known militant at a mosque. Previously, in 2011, Russian authorities had asked the FBI to investigate Tsarnaev for possible links to extremist groups.
One month after arriving back in the States, Tamerlan created a YouTube page and began posting radical Islamic videos to it. The videos included ones associated with Imarat Kavkaz (IK or Caucasus Emirate), an al-Qaeda-linked organization that the U.S. State Department has labeled a Specially Designated Terrorist Group. Much like the Boston Marathon bombing, IK is notorious for targeting civilians, including with suicide attacks, one of the methods said to have been considered by the Tsarnaev brothers. Indeed, IK has its own suicide battalion.
Tsarnaev’s YouTube page also contains lectures made by Feiz Mohammed, an Australian Islamic leader who has, on numerous occasions, been reported for inciting violence. In his infamous “Death Series” DVD set, Mohammed curses non-Muslims and urges Muslim youth to be prepared to sacrifice themselves for their religion. On one of the DVDs, he states, “We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam. Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid (holy warrior). Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom.”
Over the last couple of years, Tamerlan and his wife, Katherine Russell (Tsarnaeva), had become religiously observant. Russell had converted to Islam in 2010, at the behest of Tsarnaev. She became pregnant with their daughter, dropped out of school, and began distancing herself from friends and family. Today, Russell can be found donning the female Islamic head covering. It’s a noticeable difference from her mug shot, when she had been arrested in June 2007 for shoplifting – a foreshadowing of her mother-in-law Zubeidat Tsarnaeva’s arrest for the same crime four years later.
According to his aunt in Dagestan, Patimat Suleimanova, whilst he was overseas, Tsarnaev would speak with his wife every day via the computer program Skype. And when he would lapse in his Islamic duties, according to Sueimanova, his wife would council him on how to observe properly. Though a number of people have claimed that she was verbally abused by Tamerlan, the two no doubt remained close. His aunt said that, prior to leaving, he had considered bringing Russell with him to Dagestan.
Russell is currently an FBI “Person of Interest” and as such has hired an attorney, Joshua Dratel, who specializes in terror-related cases, to defend her. Dratel handled the case of Lynn Stewart, the lawyer who was convicted of smuggling messages between her then-client, the spiritual leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Omar Abdel Rahman, and followers of an Egyptian terrorist group, and he represented Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, who had attended an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.
Russell has claimed that she knew nothing of the marathon bomb plot, yet it was her and Tsarnaev’s less-than-sizeable Cambridge apartment where the bombs were built and where explosive residue was found throughout the residence, including in the kitchen and bathroom. It is in her personal computer,where the FBI found a downloaded copy of Inspire, an al-Qaeda publication which discusses how to build homemade bombs. It is she who phoned Tamerlan, following the attack, to inform him that he was “being watched.”
According to his uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, Tamerlan had become enamored with a religious leader in Cambridge, Massachusetts who, as suspected by Tsarni,succeeded in radicalizing both Tsarnaev and his younger brother. If there is any truth to what the uncle has said, that leader could very well have come from the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), a Cambridge-based radical mosque frequented by both brothers.
The imam of ISB is Basyouny Nehela. On his bio, it says he has served as ISB’s imam for the past decade. The bio is found on the website of the Boston chapter of the Muslim American Society (MAS-Boston), where Nehela sits on its Board of Directors. From 2004 to 2008, Nehela served as the head of the MAS Tarbiyah (Education) Department. Nehela also teaches Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at MAS’s Islamic American University (IAU), a Michigan-based institution chaired by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
MAS and ISB are not exactly separate entities. MAS runs the ISB’s sister mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), located in Roxbury Crossing. A big MAS logo is found on every page of the ISBCC website. All of this is daunting, given the terrorist ties of both MAS and ISB.
MAS was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1993, including the former global head of the Brotherhood, Mohammed Mahdi Akef. The National Executive Director of MAS is currently Mazen Mokhtar. From 1992 through 1996, Mokhtar proudly used the Internet to announce his support for Hamas and suicide bombings. Prior to the September 11 attacks, Mokhtar served as a web designer for what was then the main website raising funds and recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Qoqaz.net. The site was a project of Azzam Publications, an organization named for Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam.
Read more at Front Page