Mosque contacted FBI to identify bombing suspects Friday

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), the Cambridge, Mass., mosque attended by Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, contacted the FBI to identify the suspects on Friday, April 19, a mosque spokeswoman confirmed to the Daily Caller.

The FBI did not contact the mosque in the four days after the Monday attack and had no communication with the mosque until the ISB reached out Friday.

By the time the mosque contacted the FBI, the suspects had allegedly shot an MIT police officer and engaged in a fiery shootout with law enforcement in Watertown, Mass., where Tamerlan was killed.

“We were the ones who reached out to them. We contacted them on Friday, once we became aware” of the suspects’ identity based on the photos, ISB spokesperson Nichole Mossalam told TheDC.

The FBI first released photos of the suspects Thursday evening.

“I believe the first pictures were kind of grainy. After newer pictures came out, people started to recognize them,” Mossalam said, prompting the ISB to contact the FBI.

The FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family members in early 2011 at the request of the Russian Federal Security Service, which suspected that Tsarnaev had embraced radical Islam. The FBI found no evidence of terrorism activity.

The mosque has acknowledged the Tsarnaev brothers’ attendance.

“The older suspect began coming intermittently to our congregational prayers on Friday over a year ago and occasionally to our daily prayers. The younger suspect was rarely seen at the center, coming only occasionally for prayer,” the mosque said in a statement.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev interrupted an ISB sermon on Nov. 16, 2012, after the preacher stated that it is appropriate for Muslims to celebrate U.S. holidays like Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

Tamerlan challenged the preacher’s statement and afterward met with the preacher to discuss his disagreement further and left the mosque, according to the mosque.

On Jan. 18, 2013, Tamerlan interrupted an ISB preacher who had praised Martin Luther King, Jr., calling him a “nonbeliever,” before being shouted down by other attendees, ISB said Monday.

A handful of volunteer mosque leaders confronted Tamerlan and told him he would not be welcomed if he continued to interrupt the sermons, ISB said. Tamerlan continued to attend congregational prayers after that and did not cause further disturbances.

The FBI did not immediately return a request for comment as to why it did not get in touch with the suspects’ mosque.

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