Virginia Locals 'Blindsided' by Burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

In a tiny cemetery out in the country about 25 miles north of Richmond, Virginia lie the interred remains of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The information surrounding the burial is scant and inadequate. Even local officials in Caroline County were not notified of the burial until they read the news.

The Al-Barzakh Muslim Cemetery is situated near two landmarks: amusement park Kings Dominion and the birthplace of horse racing's Triple Crown winner Secretariat.

A "concerned" citizen, Martha Mullen, a spiritual adviser of sorts, in Richmond decided somebody had to do something about the inability of a Worcester, Massachusetts funeral home to find a place to bury the bomber. Massachusetts couldn't find anyone willing to do the burial and protests helped ensure the resting place would be outside the state. Russia even rejected requests for burial there.

So Mullen took it upon herself to email two Islamic centers in her area to see if they would help end the divisive drama. She claims she did not have contact with anyone in the Tsarnaev family, but she did say she has "relatives in Massachusetts."

From WTVR in Richmond:

"After ten years now of being at war with Iraq and all of the people that have died because of the conflicts that we've been involved in, it seems to me that there is a lot of xenophobia in America, and um, particularly towards people who are seen as different," she said.

Mullen, a licensed professional counselor who studied theology, wanted to end all the contention. So she reached out to different faith groups and proposed an interfaith resolution to find burial arrangements, and the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia wrote back and they said they had discussed it themselves and would like to offer a burial place.

"I was just kind of facilitating getting people together to resolve this issue because I found it disturbing that it was an ongoing bone of contention, and I have relatives in Massachusetts."

She had no contact with Tsarnaev's family or his uncle. Mullen said she was told the FBI was notified. Many in the Commonwealth were surprised when the news broke early Friday, and both Islamic leaders and Caroline County officials were stunned and unhappy about the decision.

Caroline County officials distributed a statement to the media, saying they were not consulted about this, had no say in the matter and would prefer that Doswell be associated with "positive news reports."

Now Caroline County citizens and officials are angry that their area will be forever known by Tsarnaev's presence. Muslims in the area with family members already buried in the Doswell cemetery are upset that "everybody who's buried in that cemetery, their loved ones are going to have to go to that place."

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report


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