A Moscow media report reveals new details about the Islamic interests and online activity of the Chechen brothers linked to Monday's Boston Marathon bombing.
The Moscow Times says the Russian Foreign Ministry is investigating reports that the suspects-- Djohar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev-- were involved in the bombing that killed three people and injured at least 176.
The brothers are believed to have fled Chechnya during the first Chechen war in 1994-96. The family apparently lived in Central Asia and then in Dagestan, near Chechnya—a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus that’s become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency.
A man named Djohar Tsarnaev has a page on the Russian equivalent of Facebook, Vkontakte, describing his world view as “Islam” and his personal priorities as “career and money.” The page also says he attended a school in Makhachkala, Russia from 1999 to 2001, and he speaks Chechen, English, and Russian.
The Moscow Times says a man named Tamerlan Tsarnaev is associated with a YouTube account that lists favorite Islam-related videos, including one called” Let’s Devote Our Lives to Jihad.”
Talking about his Muslim faith, Tamerlan is quoted as saying, “I am very religious” and “there are no values anymore.”
Tamerlan reportedly belongs to two Chechnya-related groups on Vkontaktes, and last logged into the site via a cell phone at 9:04 p.m. Thursday Boston time.
Meanwhile, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who in the past has distanced Chechnya from Chechens linked to terrorism, underlined that the Chechen people cannot be blamed for the tragic bombing. "The roots of this evil should (be) looked for in the U.S." he wrote on his Instagram account , pointing out that the Tsarnaev brothers had lived in the U.S. for many years and "their worldview was formed there."
Chechnya, Dagestan and the other North Caucasus republics have been a breeding ground for terror groups since the first Chechen war, and local militants have staged many attacks in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not immediately respond to the latest developments. But he offered to help the U.S. investigate the Boston bombings shortly after they occurred, and on Thursday, he called the attacks, “disgusting.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.