Local Mosque Leaders Reached Out To FBI During Jahar Watertown Standoff

by
Owen Poindexter
Amidst the tense standoff on Friday night, when Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev was hiding under a boat in Watertown, MA, leaders from the local mosque reached out to the FBI.

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Leaders of a Boston mosque reached out to the FBI during the standoff in Watertown. PHOTO: Public Domain

Amidst the tense standoff on Friday night, when Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev was hiding under a boat in Watertown, MA, leaders from the local mosque reached out to the FBI. They thought that, as fellow Muslims, Jahar might be more responsive to them than the FBI agents who were trying to coax him out from under the boat.

"We said to the FBI, listen if you want someone to negotiate with the younger brother..." Yusufi Vali, the spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, Mass., told ABC News. "We said we are willing to send in someone because he may have been a Muslim -- to talk to him and negotiate that process and the FBI was so grateful for that."
 
The standoff ended before Vali was able to help, but the FBI did thank him for the offer.
 
Tamerlan Tsarnaev periodically went to the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, Mass. to pray. Tamerlan made waves there by objecting to an Imam comparing a Muslim prophet to Martin Luther King Jr. Tamerlan was thrown out of the mosque over the incident.
 
As for Jahar, and Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell, they came to the mosque rarely and never. Jahar stopped in occasionally to pray, but Russell, who converted to Islam after marrying Tamerlan, never showed up, perhaps indicating that her conversion was in name only.

As for what made the Tsarnaev brothers turn to terrorism, Vali is sure that it has nothing to do with his mosque, because they preach a moderate, peaceful Islam:

"The Islam we project is moderate and it's an American Islam which is the way I understand it and it really respects the cultural and legal contours of America," Vali said."If these guys were Muslim who did this and in the name of Islam I could not recognize them as part of my city or as part of my faith community, that's how I felt."

"They are not mine because it's absolutely disgraceful what they did."

With so many people trying to define radical Islam as the only kind, it's important to remember that Muslims like Vali are the vast majority of Muslims.

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