What will happen to bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body?

Updated 5:33 AM EDT, Thu April 25, 2013

Story highlights

Dead suspect's mom wants son buried near Cambridge mosque

No one has claimed Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body, official says

The family hasn't requested a funeral, the Islamic Society of Boston says

(CNN) —  

The body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev lies unclaimed in a state morgue.

Authorities had not yet determined a cause of death on Wednesday, and no one had stepped forward to claim the body, said Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Massachusetts state medical examiner.

The suspects’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, said she wanted her son to be buried near a Cambridge mosque and told CNN earlier in the week that family members had arranged for a funeral on Tuesday or Wednesday.

But the Islamic Society of Boston said Wednesday that the family had not contacted local mosque officials with any funeral requests.

The leadership of mosques in Cambridge and Roxbury have discussed the issue and decided that they will hold a funeral for Tsarnaev if they are asked by the family, said Nichole Mossalam, a spokeswoman for the executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston.

In Islam, she said, “we don’t have excommunication. … This is our obligation.”

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Usually, Muslims are buried the same day as their death. But in addition to the delays required by an autopsy and the massive investigation into the bombings, several Muslim leaders in the Boston area have said they would not perform funeral rites for a man accused of committing so much violence.

Since several of the top Imams in the Islamic Society of Boston are not comfortable with presiding over the funeral, they would probably have a “layperson” do it if asked, Mossalam said.

That would be done by an organization that does body-washings and funerals for several mosques in the community, she said.

The FBI says Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, were behind last week’s double bombing at the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died early Friday after a shootout with police, while the wounded Dzhokhar faces federal charges that could lead to a death sentence.

“I don’t care who or what these criminals claim to be, but I can never recognize these criminals as part of my city or my faith community,” said Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area.

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“All of us Bostonians want these criminals to be brought to justice immediately,” Vali said. “I am infuriated at the criminals of these bombings for trying to rip our city apart. We will remain united and not let them change who we are as Bostonians.”

Tsarnaev attended prayers periodically at the society’s Cambridge mosque, and his younger brother occasionally came along, the group said in a statement issued Monday. After he interrupted sermons twice, in November and January, to criticize the speaker, volunteer leaders “gave him a clear choice: either he stops interrupting sermons and remains silent or he would not be welcomed,” the statement said. He complied.

“While these suspects did express views counter to our mosque’s philosophy, they never expressed any hint of violent sentiments or behavior,” it said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators that his brother was the mastermind of the April 15 bombings and that the two were self-radicalized by the Internet, a U.S. government official said Tuesday. Investigators are trying to corroborate his account, the official said.

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But Imam Talal Eid of the Boston Islamic Institute said this week that he questioned media accounts describing Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a devout Muslim.

“A person who is devoted does not kill innocent people,” Eid said.

The suspects’ mother has said she believes her sons were framed.

“Tamerlan was the most gentle, the most nicest, the most loving boy. … They killed him. They killed him,” she said.

“I think now they will try to make my Dzhokhar guilty, because they took away his voice, his ability to talk to the world,” she added. “They did it because they did not want to truth to come out.”

CNN’s Brian Todd, Caitlin Hagan, Jonathan Wald, Moni Basu and Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report.