Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in small Muslim Virginia cemetery
BOSTON — The mystery surrounding the burial of the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has come to an end. The Boston Marathon bombing suspect was buried this week at a small Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Va.
According to his death certificate, which was released Friday, Tsarnaev was buried Thursday at Al-Barzakh Cemetery, about half an hour north of Richmond. Officials in Massachusetts had said the body was moved to a burial site out of state. But they had refused to disclose where.
Tsarnaev was shot by the police and run over by his younger brother, Dzhokhar, as the two tried to elude the authorities during a chase that began April 18. They are believed to have carried out the bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260 on April 15.
His body was claimed by an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, about two weeks later, but it remained at a funeral home in Worcester, Mass., for six days, because no cemetery or host community could be found that would accept it.
Martha Mullen followed the story from her home in Richmond, and asked local religious leaders if they could think of anywhere Tsarnaev could be laid to rest.
“Jesus tells us, ‘Love your enemies,’ not to hate them after they’re dead,” said Mullen, according to a statement provided by the Islamic Society of Greater Richmond.
She received an offer from the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, a small organization that runs a cemetery with several dozen plots in Doswell, an unincorporated village with less than 2,000 people that is best-known as the home of the King’s Dominion theme park. The organization worked with the Worcester police, the Worcester funeral director, Peter A. Stefan, and Tsarni to make arrangements.
“We strongly disagree with his violent actions, but that does not release us from our obligation to return his body to the earth,” said an unnamed official with the group who was quoted in the statement.
Tsarnaev’s body was moved late Wednesday, an official at the funeral home said.
The burial came as a surprise to Doswell area officials.
“Caroline County was not consulted or given any input into the decision-making process for determining a burial site for this individual,” Charles M. Culley Jr., the administrator for the county where the cemetery is, said in a statement. “We had no advance notice of the decision and unfortunately learned of the selection of a burial site through the media.”