The Tsarnaevs’ Islam: Boxing Bad, Bombing Good

Who knows what goes through the demented minds of religious killers? A news team at the Wall Street Journal put together a relatively thorough profile of suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and while it’s not exactly enlightening — mental pathology is difficult to enlighten — it is plenty sad and often chilling.

Some passages:

His mother encouraged him to turn to Islam. “I told Tamerlan that we are Muslim, and we are not practicing our religion, and how can we call ourselves Muslims?” Mrs. Tsarnaeva said. “And that’s how Tamerlan started reading about Islam, and he started praying, and he got more and more and more into his religion.

Tell me again how more piety = better morals.

Tamerlan quit drinking and smoking, gave up boxing because he thought it was in opposition to his religion, and began pushing the rest of his family to pursue stricter ways, his mother recalled.

“You know how Islam has changed me,” his mother, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Makhachkala, Dagestan, says he told her. …

Tamerlan persuaded his mother to cover herself up, which she says at one point distressed her husband, Anzor. “He said, ‘You are being crazy, covering yourselves,'” she recalled her husband saying. She said that she told him, “This is what Islamic men should want. This is what I am supposed to do.”

Allah commanded it. And soon, in her son’s mind, Allah started commanding a lot of other things too.

People who knew him say Tamerlan would express outrage when he perceived a religious slight and was critical of Muslim immigrants’ efforts to assimilate in the U.S.

In one incident last November, Tamerlan confronted a shopkeeper at a Middle Eastern grocery store in Cambridge, near a mosque where he sometimes prayed, after seeing a sign there advertising Thanksgiving turkeys. “Brother, why did you put up this sign?” the shopkeeper, Abdou Razak, recalled him asking angrily. “This is kuffar” — an Arabic reference to non-Muslims — “that’s not right!”

At Friday prayers that month, Tamerlan stood up and challenged a sermon in which the speaker said that, just like “we all celebrate the birthday of the Prophet, we can also celebrate July 4 and Thanksgiving,” according to Yusufi Vali, a mosque spokesman. Mr. Vali said Tamerlan stated that he “took offense to celebrating anything,” be it the Prophet’s birthday (which not all Muslims celebrate) or American holidays.

Tamerlan also protested at Friday prayers in January, around the Martin Luther King Day holiday, when a speaker compared the civil-rights leader with the Prophet Muhammad, Mr. Vali said. Tamerlan interrupted the sermon and called the speaker a hypocrite.

But the most neck-snappingly bizarre snippet from the whole article is the answer to why Tamerlan Tsarnaev stopped boxing, a sport for which he had a rare talent.

[His father] Anzor Tsarnaev said he was “outraged” by his son’s decision to drop boxing. He said Tamerlan told him that a Muslim must not punch another man in the face. [emphasis added]

In this version of Islam, Allah tells you not to punch another man in the face — but says it’s fine to blow up innocent people by detonating pressure cookers filled with shrapnel.

In summary:


Got that?