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Uncle arranging Boston bomb suspect's burial rites

By Denise Lavoie

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:12 a.m. HST, May 06, 2013

WORCESTER, Mass. >> The uncle of a Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed in a gun battle with police arrived at a funeral home Sunday to prepare his body for burial.

Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., and three other men met with Worcester funeral home director Peter Stefan. The men who accompanied Tsarni plan to wash and shroud the body of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev according to Muslim tradition, the uncle said.

Tsarnaev, who had appeared in surveillance photos wearing a black cap and was identified as Suspect No. 1, died days after the April 15 bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others.

Tsarni told reporters that he is arranging for Tsarnaev's burial because religion and tradition call for his nephew to be buried. He said his friends came along to help him prepare Tsarnaev's body and he understands that "no one wants to associate their names with such evil acts."

Stefan said he has received calls from people criticizing him and calling him "un-American" for being willing to handle Tsarnaev's funeral.

"We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No," he said. "We are burying a dead body. That's what we do."

A half dozen protesters gathered outside the funeral home Sunday holding signs and American flags and chanting "USA!" One sign read: "Do not bury him on U.S. soil." Several people drove by the funeral home earlier Sunday and yelled, including one man who shouted, "Throw him off a boat like Osama bin Laden!"

Stefan said he hasn't been able to find a cemetery in Massachusetts willing to take the body, but he has received offers to provide a grave and to contribute money toward the funeral expenses from people in other states. Stefan said he plans to ask the city of Cambridge, where Tsarnaev lived, to provide a burial plot, and if Cambridge turns him down, he will seek help from state officials.

Stefan said Tsarnaev's uncle told him he is anxious to bury his nephew.

"They just want to get it over with. They want to get him buried," Stefan said.

The state medical examiner ruled that Tsarnaev died from gunshot wounds and blunt drama to his head and torso. Stefan said Sunday that the family won't request that an independent medical examiner perform a second autopsy, but representatives from the family's legal team might photograph Tsarnaev's body before it's washed.

Tsarni has denounced the acts that his nephews — Tamerlan and younger brother Dzhokhar — are accused of committing and has said they brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity. The brothers are ethnic Chechens from Russia who came to the United States about a decade ago with their parents. Both parents returned to Dagestan last year.

Dzhokhar, 19, is in a prison hospital, facing a potential death sentence if convicted of the terrorism plot.

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Police: Dead Boston bombing suspect buried

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Kalaheo1 wrote:
This uncle and funeral home are minor heroes too. They are taking responsibility and doing unpleasant and thankless work. The world would be a better place with more people like them.
on May 5,2013 | 11:32AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I'm with you on this. They were not happy with what happened and are just burying their dead. They did what is right.
on May 5,2013 | 07:59PM
aomohoa wrote:
"heroes"??? They are just doing what needs to be done. A hero is a soldier risking his life for our country!
on May 5,2013 | 08:14PM
kailua000 wrote:
I dont think hero was the right word. but they were vocal with their displeasure with their nephews.
on May 6,2013 | 03:24AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
That's why I said minor hero. It would be easier for the uncle to ignore it and for the funeral home to send them down road.

They both stepped up to plate and chose to deal with unpleasant and thankless work because it's the right thing to do and to keep others from having to do it. It puts them in the glare of the national spot light and opens them up for abuse and criticism. The funeral home is seeing protests in front of their business and may lose customers. The uncle despises his nephews and what they did.

A hero doesn't have to throw himself on a grenade to be a hero. There are all sorts or heroes, big and small. However, if you can think of a better word, I'll use it. Regardless, The world and our country would be a better place with more people like them.

on May 6,2013 | 07:22AM
ghstar wrote:
Why not send him back to his mother Dagestan?
on May 5,2013 | 11:52AM
kailua000 wrote:
best option.
on May 5,2013 | 02:14PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
He should be sent back to Russia along with all his family members who do not hold US citizenship. There's no place in America for radical islamists, they should not have been allowed to immigrate to the US in the first place.
on May 5,2013 | 12:52PM
kailua000 wrote:
I do believe the Uncles is doing the right thing. He was very verbal about how disgusted he was with his nephews but he has to do what his religion tells him to do. That being said, in NY they have paupers cemetaries, or cemetaries for unknown. Thats how this guy should be burried. Cambridge should not donate a plot, it will be defaced and families of others lying in peace will be unable to have undisturbed visit. Don't Muslims have their own cemetaries like the the Jewish people? if not, my I suggest cremation?
on May 5,2013 | 02:13PM
sak wrote:
Any landfill or toxic waste dump should be better than what he deserves, but the toilet and sewage treatment route might be the best option if cleaning him is part of their ritual, mo beta.
on May 5,2013 | 02:36PM
Living_Large wrote:
Did they run out of room in the landfill?
on May 5,2013 | 07:56PM
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