As everyone scours the internet for anything and everything related to the Tsarnaev brothers in an attempt to understand the reasoning behind the attack at the Boston Marathon on Monday, a YouTube account under the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been found. The largely Russian-language YouTube, page which allegedly belongs to the dead suspect, features links to various YouTube videos under four distinct playlists – two of them being ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Islam.’ However, while the YouTube page might reveal a deeply and radically religious man, judging by the younger brother Dzhokhar, who remains at large, and his alleged tweets, the young men weren’t deeply pious at all. In fact, all that is revealed through these mediums of social media is one simple truth – they were deeply troubled and extremely confused.
Of the links featured on the older brother, Tamerlan’s page, one is called “And they say, it’s only Sunnah,” nearly an hour long lecture by a notoriously radical and controversial Australian Islamic preacher, Sheik Feiz Mohammed.
An Australian of Lebanese descent, a Wahhabi and, like Tamerlan, a former boxer, Mohammed gained notoriety worldwide when he blamed women for being rape victims rather than the rapists themselves. At a lecture, he said,
"A victim of rape every minute somewhere in the world. Why? No one to blame but herself. She displayed her beauty to the entire world... Strapless, backless, sleeveless, showing their legs, nothing but satanic skirts, slit skirts, translucent blouses, miniskirts, tight jeans: all this to tease man and appeal to his carnal nature."
He has also been known to encourage children to become jihadists, saying, "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam ... Teach them this: there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a martyr."
However, despite the videos linked to the suspect’s YouTube page which promote nothing but an extremely radical and Wahhabi brand of Islam, the younger brother’s tweets don’t show them to be very religious at all. In fact, the twitterfeed belonging to the younger brother features various references to drugs, women and getting rich – unfortunately, fairly unremarkable for the average 19-year old guy, but fairly extraordinary for two men claiming to be devout holders of their faith.
In fact, Tamerlan had previously been arrested in 2009 for assaulting his girlfriend and had said that he did not smoke or drink anymore, all signs that he wasn’t raised in a very religious or cultural environment.
With so much information surfing through the internet and speculation coming from left and right, it’s difficult to remember that at the end of the day, there is little that we know to be concrete. Although social media has granted us some insight into what these men were like, it is still too early to assume the reasoning behind this attack.