April 23, 2013

In Chechnya, elder brother didn't fit in, aunt says

Tamerlan Tsarnaev seemed more American than Chechen and "did not fit into the Muslim life" in Russia's Caucasus, she says.

The Associated Press

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In this image taken from a video, Patimat Suleimanova, the aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, speaks in her home in the Russian city of Makhachkala about her nephew, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, on Monday.

The Associated Press

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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.

"He used to say, 'I want to go somewhere in the mountains, to be all by myself, to escape from everyday life, to be alone,'" Suleimanova said.

The suspects' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said he intends to travel to the U.S. "I want normal justice," he said. "I have many questions for the police. You know, I am a lawyer myself and I want to clear up many things. .... I want justice and the truth."

The family said he wants to bring Tsarnaev's body back to Russia.

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