MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. (AP) – An uncle of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on Friday said the brothers had brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity.
Ruslan Tsarni, 42, also told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he was not completely shocked when he learned that the older brother was named as a suspect in the bombing in which three were killed and dozens wounded.“It’s not a surprise about him,” he said. “The younger one, that’s something else.”
The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers who had lived in the region of Dagestan, which neighbors the region of Chechnya in southern Russia.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who was seen in surveillance footage released by the FBI wearing a black baseball cap, was killed in a shootout with police, officials said. His brother Dzhokhar, a 19-year-old college student, seen wearing a white baseball cap in the images from the bombing near the marathon finish line, was taken into custody later.
NOT ABOUT ISLAM
The brothers had been in the U.S. for about a decade and lived near Boston. Tsarni said he had not seen them since he visited them in December 2005. He said his nephews had struggled to settle themselves in the U.S. and ended up “thereby just hating everyone.”
Asked what he thought provoked the bombings, Tsarni said: “Being losers, hatred to those who were able to settle themselves. These are the only reasons I can imagine of. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, it’s a fraud, it’s a fake.”
He later said he was not calling his nephews losers. “I’m saying those who are able to make this atrocity are only losers.”
Tsarni, who described himself as Muslim, vehemently denied that Islam, or Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency, had anything to do with the attack. He said his brother left the U.S. and he had not talked to him since 2009. He said they had a personal falling out but did not elaborate. “If somebody radicalized them … it’s not my brother, who just moved back to Russia. Who spent his life bringing bread to that table, fixing cars.”
Tsarni offered his condolences to the victims.“We’re sharing with them their grief. I’m ready just to meet with them. I’m ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking that forgiveness.”
An aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Maret Tsarnaeva, told reporters in Toronto that her brother’s family came to the United States in 2002 after she helped them apply for refugee status. She said the family also has two sisters who live in Boston.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the U.S. “He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion,” she said. “At that age all they want is love, so he found his love, he married, he had a daughter, and he was very happy about his daughter.”
But she said the 26-year-old Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it’s not easy.”Tsarnaeva said she wanted proof the brothers are involved in the bombing. “We’re talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that … I don’t know them in the way that they could be capable of this,” Tsarnaeva said.
SYMPATHY AND PAIN
She said her brother Anzor Tsarnaev had high expecations for his sons, especially Tamerlan.She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan had dropped out of his university. She said he always demanded more of his children and said Tamerlan was his favorite.
She said her first reaction was anger because she could not understand why the brothers would be involved and what possible cause they would have. She said she called the FBI and asked for evidence and suggested they were set up.
Around the U.S., Muslims said they were pained by the bombing. Muslim leaders in the St. Louis area, stressing that their faith condemns acts of violence and terror, organized an interfaith service at a mosque to pray for victims of the attack.
Elsewhere, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood condemned the Boston Marathon bombings, and expressed condolences to the American people and families of the victims. The Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, emphasized that Islamic law “firmly rejects assaults on civilians” and doesn’t accept any means of terrorizing people.