'Misha' denies radicalizing Tamerlan Tsarnaev
The FBI has found the myserious man known as "Misha," who the family of the Tsarnaev brothers claim "radicalized" Tamerlan.
His real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov, a 30-something Armenian convert to Islam. He lived in Boston a few years and admits knowing Tamerlan and denies radicalizing him.
He now lives in Rhode Island and claims he hadn't seen Tamerlan in 3 years. The FBI is concluding its investigation, determining that Misha had nothing to do with the bombing.
But there is a question of whether he preached a radical form of Islam that Tamerlan eventually latched on to and then began his own personal inquiry by visiting jihadist websites and reading literature from extremist preachers.
Tamerlan's uncle via Breitbart:
Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, the ex-husband of Tamerlan's sister, Ailina, said the Tsarnaevs were not at the mosque frequently until 2008 or 2009, when Tamerlan Tsarnaev met Misha. Khozhugov recalled the visit Misha made to the family home, where he stayed for hours.
Misha was telling him what is Islam, what is good in Islam, what is bad in Islam. This is the best religion and that's it. Mohammed said this and Mohammed said that. It was late, like midnight. His father comes in and says, 'Why is Misha here so late and still in our house?" He asked it politely. Tamerlan was so much into the conversation he didn't listen.
Khozhugov said Tamerlan's mother, Zubeidat, said:
"Don't interrupt them. They're talking about religion and good things. Misha is teaching him to be good and nice." When Misha would start talking, Tamerlan would stop talking and listen. It upset his father because Tamerlan wouldn't listen to him as much. He would listen to this guy from the mosque who was preaching to him.
Khozhugov added that Tamerlan did not know much about Islam, and wht he did know he got from sources online or from Misha: 'Misha was important, Tamerlan was searching for something. He was searching for something out there."
But Tsarnaev's mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, denied Misha was a factor, saying, "Nonsense. He was just a friend." She continued that Misha was well-versed in Islam but wasn't extreme. She stated that Misha's contact with the Tsarnaevs was brief and he had moved elsewhere in the U.S. but she wouldn't say where.
It is against the law to advocate violence against anyone, including the US government. But as we know from past experience, the FBI gives Islamists wide latitude in preaching jihad. The American, Anwar al-Awlaki, who influenced several terrorists, including Nidal Hassan, the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and preached to two of the 9/11 hijackers operated a mosque freely in Falls Church, VA. Awlaki met his end in Yemen following a drone strike.
Misha denies being part of the Boston bomb plot, saying, If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this." That may be. But someone set the wheels turning in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's head toward jihad and despite his denials, Misha seems a likely suspect.