The uncle stated in an interview last week that the elder brother became 'radical' (operational) at his mosque in Boston before and after the trip to Russia.
And despite the media myth that the mosque kicked him out after the Boston bomber became angry and threatening, that is not so. He was never thrown out.
Mosque that Boston suspects attended has radical ties Oren Dorell, USA TODAY (thanks to Charles Jacobs)
suspects, fugitives and radical speakers have passed through the
Cambridge mosque that the Tsarnaev brothers are known to have visited.
BOSTON — The mosque attended by the two brothers accused in the
Boston Marathon bombing has been associated with other terrorist
suspects, has invited radical speakers to a sister mosque in Boston and
is affiliated with a Muslim group that critics say nurses grievances
that can lead to extremism.
Several people who attended the
Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass., have been
investigated for Islamic terrorism, including a conviction of the
mosque's first president, Abdulrahman Alamoudi, in connection with an
assassination plot against a Saudi prince.
And its sister mosque
in Boston, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, has
invited guests who have defended terror suspects. A former trustee
appears in a series of videos in which he advocates treating gays as
criminals, says husbands should sometimes beat their wives and calls on
Allah (God) to kill Zionists and Jews, according to Americans for Peace
and Tolerance, an interfaith group that has investigated the mosques.
head of the group is among critics who say the mosques teach a brand of
Islamic thought that encourages grievances against the West, distrust
of law enforcement and opposition to Western forms of government, dress
and social values.
"We don't know where these boys were
radicalized," says the head of the group, Charles Jacobs. "But this
mosque has a curriculum that radicalizes people. Other people have been
Yusufi Vali, executive director at the Islamic
Society of Boston Cultural Center, insists his mosque does not spread
radical ideology and cannot be blamed for the acts of a few worshipers.
there were really any worry about us being extreme," Vali said, U.S.
law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Departments of Justice and
Homeland Security would not partner with the Muslim American Society and
the Boston mosque in conducting monthly meetings that have been ongoing
for four years, he said, in an apparent reference to U.S. government
outreach programs in the Muslim community.
The Cambridge and
Boston mosques, separated by the Charles River, are owned by the same
entity but managed individually. The imam of the Cambridge mosque, Sheik
Basyouny Nehela, is on the board of directors of the Boston mosque.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, attended the
Cambridge mosque for services and are accused of setting two bombs that
killed three people and injured at least 264 others at the April 15
The FBI has not indicated that either mosque
was involved in any criminal activity. But mosque attendees and
officials have been implicated in terrorist activity.
Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who signed the articles of incorporation as the
Cambridge mosque's president, was sentenced to 23 years in federal court
in Alexandria, Va., in 2004 for his role as a facilitator in what
federal prosecutors called a Libyan assassination plot against
then-Saudi crown prince Abdullah. Abdullah is now the Saudi king.
Aafia Siddiqui is shown after her graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.(Photo: AP)
Aafia Siddiqui, who occasionally prayed at the Cambridge mosque, was
arrested in Afghanistan in 2008 while in possession of cyanide canisters
and plans for a chemical attack in New York City. She tried to grab a
rifle while in detention and shot at military officers and FBI agents,
for which she was convicted in New York in 2010 and is serving an
The 2009 booking photo of Tarek Mehanna, of Sudbury, Mass.(Photo: Sudbury Police Department via AP)
Tarek Mehanna, who worshiped at the Cambridge mosque, was sentenced in
2012 to 17 years in prison for conspiring to aid al-Qaeda. Mehanna had
traveled to Yemen to seek terrorist training and plotted to use
automatic weapons to shoot up a mall in the Boston suburbs, federal
investigators in Boston alleged.
• Ahmad Abousamra, the son of a
former vice president of the Muslim American Society Boston Abdul-Badi
Abousamra, was identified by the FBI as Mehanna's co-conspirator. He
fled to Syria and is wanted by the FBI on charges of providing support
to terrorists and conspiracy to kill Americans in a foreign country.
• Jamal Badawi of Canada, a former trustee of the Islamic Society of
Boston Trust, which owns both mosques, was named as a non-indicted
co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial in Texas
over the funneling of money to Hamas, which is the Palestinian wing of
the Muslim Brotherhood.
What both mosques have in common is an
affiliation with the Muslim American Society, an organization founded in
1993 that describes itself as an American Islamic revival movement. It
has also been described by federal prosecutors in court as the "overt
arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood, which calls for Islamic law and is the
parent organization of Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group.
Critics say the Muslim American Society promotes a fraught relationship
with the United States, expressed in part by the pattern discussed by
Americans for Progress and Tolerance in which adherents are made to feel
cut off from their home country and to identify with a global Islamist
political community rather than with America.
president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, says the radical
teachings often follow a theme of recitation of grievances that Islam
has with the West, advocacy against U.S. foreign policy and terrorist
prosecutions, and efforts "to evangelize Islam in order to improve
Western society that is secularized," he says.
Jasser, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and author of the 2012 book A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot Fights to Save His Faith,
says the teachings make some followers feel "like their national
identity is completely absent and hollow, and that vacuum can be filled
by (radical) Islamic ideology, which is supremacist and looks upon the
West as evil."
The Cambridge mosque was founded in 1982 by
students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and
several other Boston-area schools, according to a profile by the
Pluralism Project at Harvard University. Its members founded the sister
mosque in Boston in 2009.
The leadership of the two mosques is
intertwined and the ideology they teach is the same, Jacobs says. Ilya
Feoktistov, director of research at Americans for Peace and Tolerance,
says much of the money to create the Boston mosque came not from local
Muslims but from foreign sources.
More than half of the $15.5
million used to found the Boston mosque came from Saudi sources,
Feoktistov said, who cites financial documents that Jacobs' group
obtained when the mosque sued it for defamation. The lawsuit was later
But Vali said the vast majority of total donors were in
the United States and that "no donations were accepted if the donor
wanted to have any decision-making influence (even if benign)."
characterized Americans for Peace and Tolerance and its founder,
Jacobs, as anti-Muslim activists who spread "lies and half-truths in
order to attack and marginalize much of the local Muslim community and
many of its institutions."
"It's the new McCarthyism in full swing," he said.
Basyouny Nehela, the imam of the Cambridge mosque, which is located
across the Charles River from Boston, is on the board of directors for
the Muslim American Society of Boston, which runs the Boston mosque.
The Tsarnaevs attended the Cambridge mosque.
A statement issued by
the Cambridge mosque say the Tsarnaev brothers were "occasional
visitors" and the mosque's office manager, Nichole Mossalam, said
neither brother expressed radical views. "They never exhibited any
violent sentiments or behaviors. Otherwise, they would have been
reported," Mossalam said.
The Cambridge mosque says Tsarnaev, 26,
who died Thursday night in a shootout with police, "disagreed with the
moderate American-Islamic theology" of the mosque. Tsarnaev challenged
an imam who said in his sermon that it was appropriate to celebrate U.S.
national holidays and was told to stop such outbursts, the mosque said
in a statement.
Talal Eid, a Muslim chaplain at Brandeis University, says focusing on individual radicals that prayed in a building is unfair.
2011, the two brothers were right under the nose of the FBI and they
didn't find anything," Eid said, who never met the Tsarnaevs. "How do
you want me as an imam to know enough to tell them they are not welcome
here? How can I figure out those people have that kind of criminal
The Muslim American Society says on its website that it
is independent of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, early Brotherhood
literature is considered "the foundational texts for the intellectual
component for Islamic work in America," the website states.
says claims of moderate Islam do not square with the mosque's classic
jihadi texts in its library and its hosting of radical speakers.
said Ahmed Mansour, his co-director at Americans for Peace and
Tolerance, found writings by Syed Qutb, the former leader of the Muslim
Brotherhood in Egypt, and other jihadi texts at the Cambridge mosque's
library when Mansour went there in 2003. Qutb pioneered the radical
violent ideology espoused by al-Qaeda.
Yusuf al Qaradawi,
the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader who espouses radical views in
videos collected by Jacobs' group, was listed as a trustee on the
Cambridge mosque's IRS filings until 2000, and on the mosque's website
until 2003, when he addressed congregants via recorded video message to
raise money for the Boston mosque, according to a screenshot of the
announcement that Feoktistov provided.
But Vali said
Qaradawi was listed as an honorary trustee years ago only because his
scholarship and high esteem in Muslim circles would help with
Yasir Qadhi, who lectured at the Boston mosque in
April 2009, has advocated replacing U.S. democracy with Islamic rule and
called Christians "filthy" polytheists whose "life and prosperity …
holds no value in the state of Jihad," according to a video obtained by
Vali said Qadhi was a guest of a non-profit
that was renting space at the Boston mosque and changed his views since
that video was made.
But Jacobs and others say it is not
only renters who express sympathetic views for terrorists. Leaders of
the Boston and Cambridge mosques, and invited guests, have advocated on
behalf of convicted terrorists, urging followers to seek their release
or lenient sentences.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, sometimes a
spokesman for the Boston mosque, used Siddiqui's case to speak against
the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism law passed under the Bush
administration. "After they're done with (Siddiqui) they are going to
come to your door if they feel like it," he said according to a video
obtained by Americans for Peace and Tolerance.
Anwar Kazmi, a
member of the Cambridge mosque's board of trustees, called for leniency
for Mehanna and Siddiqui at a Boston rally in February 2012, in a video
posted to YouTube. He characterized Siddiqui's 86-year sentence as
In an interview with USA TODAY, Kazmi insisted
that the Cambridge mosque is moderate and condemns the bombings. On
Monday, the mosque e-mailed members to caution them that the FBI may
question them and that they may want to seek representation.
"This kind of violence, terrorism, it's just completely contrary to the
spirit of Islam," Kasmi said. "The words in the Quran say if anybody
kills even a single human being without just cause, it's as if you've
killed all of humanity."
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