Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsnarnaev: What Is the Chechnya and Islam Connection?

The alleged Boston Marathon bombers have been identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. The suspects were identified as brothers originally from Chechnya. Both of the suspects were also identified as being Muslim.

The suspects were involved in a shootout with police overnight. During the gun battle, Tamerlan was killed, but Dzhokhar managed to escape. The authorities have set up a manhunt in the Boston area to catch the suspect.

The brothers' ties back to Chechnya may provide some insight into the reason for the bombing. Chechnya is a small Russian republic located in the southeastern part of Europe. The predominant Chechen religion is Islam, specifically Sunni Islam. The Sunnis stress the role of religion in public and political life.

The Tsarnaev brothers had stated their support for their faith. Dzhohar’s worldview was “Islam” and Tamerlan stated he was very religious. Tamerlan also stated that he felt that people had lost their sense of values.

The brother’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, rejects any ties between to the bombings and the brothers Islamic faith. Instead, he blames their inability to assimilate with American society for their actions. He also urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in to authorities.

The role that religion played in the bombing will not be known until Dzhokhar is captured and interrogated. If his religion played a role in his actions, then the negative views of Islam will be strengthened. If not, then the brothers will be viewed as dejected immigrants unable to thrive in America. Neither will help the immigration debate.