The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Thursday in written testimony that alleged Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev were influenced by al-Qaeda.
“The Marathon’s accused bombers, Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar, 19, Tsarnev, journey to violent extremism had in part begun online through social networking sites linked to al-Qaeda-inspired videos and content,” according to CAIR’s written testimony for Thursday’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing on the April 15 Boston attacks.
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has told investigators that he and his brother learned to build the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used in the Boston attacks from the English language online magazine Inspire, circulated by al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, and were influenced partly by the online sermons of Anwar al Awlaki, an al Qaeda linked leader,” according to CAIR’s testimony.
“It has been reported that Tamerlan had posted to his personal YouTube account a video extolling al-Qaeda,” the testimony said.
CAIR’s testimony attempted to shift the blame for the Tsarnaev brothers’ alleged actions away from their mosque, the Islamic Society of Boston, and toward al-Qaeda, claiming that the Tsarnaevs were self-radicalized on the Internet.
“Reports Muslim community members in Boston indicate that the Tsarnaev brothers were not active members of the Boston Muslim community, did not regularly attend services provided by the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), and did not publicly express violent opinions,” the testimony states.
“On two documented occasions Tamerlan had openly disagreed with ISB’s mainstream Islamic theology,” according to CAIR’s testimony, referring to the occasions on which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was disciplined by other mosque members, including once during a sermon for disparaging the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Daily Caller has reported that the imam of the Tsarnev brothers’ mosque is a board member of the Muslim American Society’s Boston chapter. The Muslim American Society, which was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, has faced scrutiny for its links to radical Islamic figures.