Elder Boston bomb suspect disrupted sermons: Mosque



Boston: The brothers accused of carrying out the Boston bomb attacks only occasionally went to a local mosque, and the elder man was known for interrupting sermons, the mosque said on Tuesday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who has been charged in the case and is recovering from gunshot wounds in a Boston hospital, rarely went to prayer in their town of Cambridge, the Islamic Society of Boston said in a statement.

His elder brother Tamerlan, 26, who died in a shootout with police last week, began coming intermittently to Friday prayers over a year ago and occasionally to daily prayers.

Twice in recent months he interrupted sermons, the statement said.

On November 16 of last year, he spoke out when a preacher said Muslims could celebrate traditional US holidays such as Thanksgiving or July 4. Tamerlan Tsarnaev complained that Islam did not allow this.

And on January 18, he grew angry again when a preacher praised US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is celebrated each year as a federal holiday.

"The older suspect stood up, shouted and called him a 'non-believer'; said that he was 'contaminating people's minds'; and began calling him a hypocrite," the statement said.

Other members of the congregation shouted at the elder Tsarnaev and told him 2to leave the mosque, which he did.

After that incident, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was told by mosque leaders to stop interrupting sermons and be quiet or he would no longer be welcome.

He did come back, but did not interrupt any further sessions, the statement said.

The marathon attack left three dead and at least 264 people wounded.

The younger Tsarnaev faces the death penalty if convicted of the charges he faces, which include using a weapon of mass destruction.

The mosque said that neither of the two ethnic Chechen Muslims ever spoke or behaved violently and that if they had, the mosque would have reported such statements to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) right away.

AFP