Group seeks removal of remains
James Lafferty, chairman of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, calls for federal government to disinter terrorist's remains, transport them to Russia.
DAWN – The body of the Boston Marathon bomber, buried in a private Muslim cemetery in Caroline County, should be removed and sent to Russia, an activist said at a news conference at the cemetery on Monday.
The burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the first step in bringing to the site an Islamic shrine in honor of the jihadist movement, charged James Lafferty, chairman of the 200-member Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force (VAST). He read and distributed a statement standing outside the entrance to Al-Barzakh Islamic Cemetery, which is located on Sadie Lane off state Route 30.
The mission of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force is to oppose the implementation of the “radical, barbaric and anti-Constitutional Shariah law” in Virginia or anywhere in America, according to the group’s website. Shariah, an Arabic word, refers to the code of law – derived from the Koran – that governs the lives of Muslims.
Once a shrine is established, a mosque will follow, said Lafferty.
Bukhari Abdel-Alim, vice president of the Islamic Funeral Services, which operates the cemetery, attended the news conference and disputed Lafferty’s claims and opposed any efforts to disinter the remains of Tsarnaev and send them elsewhere. Islam prohibits the disinterring a body once it is buried, he said.
Abdel-Alim, 27, who has lived in Caroline for 10 years, said no shrine is planned for the bombing suspect’s burial site. If any shrine was proposed, “we would stop it immediately,” he said.
Lafferty called on the federal government to resolve the final disposal of the body by disinterring the body and shipping it back to Russia where Tsarnaev originated.
“Just as innocent people in Boston were harmed by this man and his accomplices, innocent people in Doswell should not be forced to deal with the fallout of having this terrorist’s body dumped in their midst,” Lafferty said. “Disinter the body as soon as possible, ship it to Russia, bury it at sea but don’t desecrate sacred American soil, soil that generations of American men and women sacrificed and died to keep free.”
A small handful of people and news reporters and photographers attended the news conference, which was monitored by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.
The Chechen-born Tsarnaev died April 19 after a shoot-out with police in Watertown, Mass. four days after the Boston Marathon bombing. Tsarnaev, 26, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, 19, were responsible for the bombing, according to prosecutors. The younger brother was wounded and later captured is facing federal charges that could bring the death penalty.
VAST, an Alexandria-based activist organization, also has opposed the Islamic Saudi Academy, a school operated by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Northern Virginia.
Abdel-Alim said the one-acre cemetery “will have to expand.” It now has 49 graves and those buried there were all Muslim, mostly from Richmond, Fredericksburg and Charlottesville. He said other cemeteries are expanding, and so must this one.
A monument to the jihadist movement should never be a concern, Abdel-Alim said.
As for digging up the body, which is wrapped in a cloth rather than placed in a casket, Abdel-Alim said, “We don’t have provisions for shipping bodies away.”
“A number of groups are talking about litigation” to have the body removed from Virginia, Lafferty said.
Virginians should work with their Congressional delegation as well as the state attorney general and state legislators in an effort to have the remains removed, said Lafferty.
“This will become an important site to jihadists,” said Lafferty, who have a renewed focus on armed jihad in Islamic fundamentalism.