An Islamic mosque in the Boston area has declined to arrange a religious funeral for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, one of the suspects involved in the Marathon bombings. His aunt Patimat Suleimanova informed NBC that Tsarnaev's uncle approached the center for worship and was instantly rejected. The name of the mosque was not known to Suleimanova. This raises speculation if the religious leaders actions are justified. With the Islamic church certainly caught between a rock and a hard place, funeral or no funeral, criticism is inevitable for this high profile case.
Church members have since come forth recalling an outburst resulting in Tamerlan being thrown out of the Cambridge mosque. At the church, also known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, roughly three months ago Tamerlan had a heated exchange with his imam, after a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. was displayed during the prayer service.
"You cannot mention this guy because he’s not a Muslim!" Tamerlan shouted in outrage.
Tsarnaev was killed during a firefight with Boston authorities that involved a violent police chase, explosives, and extensive gunfire. Now the question remains of how his body will be disposed. There is no denying that his actions are inexcusable, but should he be denied funeral arrangements? The Catholic Church similarly has come under fire in the past for allegedly denying funerals for victims of suicide. Iman Talal Eid, a member of the Islamic Institute of Boston, told the Huffington Post that awarding Tsarnaev a funeral would be outrageous.
"This is a person who deliberately killed people. There is no room for him as a Muslim," he remarked.
The FBI has actively questioned Boston-area mosques for any leads related to Tamerlan and the other suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, his younger brother. Dzhokhar was found after an intense manhunt that shut down the entire city of Boston. He is now in custody and is recovering in a Boston hospital from several gunshot wounds. With the FBI pursuing these Islamic worshipping centers, denying Tamerlan’s funeral may just be a tactic for religious leaders to remain under the radar and not raise further suspicions with the authorities. While religion is intended to be a portal for values, especially that of forgiveness, the denial of Tamerlan’s funeral is justified. With the case still being very much active, it would only make sense for this particular Boston mosque to become disassociated from this Islamic extremist.