Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder of the two Tsarnaev brothers allegedly behind the Boston Marathon bombings, was reading extremist conspiracy theory and white supremacist literature before the terror attack, according to a new BBC report.
“The Brothers Who Bombed Boston,” which the BBC broadcast Monday night, claims that Tsarnaev was an avid reader of anti-government conspiracy theories and other far-right wing literature.
Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police Watertown, Mass., four days after the bombings, reportedly subscribed to literature that claimed that the Sept. 11, 2001, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings were orchestrated and covered up by the U.S. government. Another article in his possession discussed “the rape of our gun rights,” while another white supremacist-oriented piece claimed “Hitler had a point.”
The information is contrary to previous statements from the FBI, CBS Boston reports. In the past, FBI investigators have maintained that Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar were radicalized by extremist Muslim jihadists from the Caucasus. But the BBC claims that it found no jihadist literature during its investigation, though it did admit that Tsarnaev and his brother had been reading jihadist websites in the leadup to the bombings.
The BBC also spoke with Nicole Mossalam, a spokeswoman for Tsarnaev’s mosque in Cambridge who claimed that Tamerlan was not a particularly devout Muslim.
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"As far connecting with the Islamic community here, to actually praying, being involved, doing acts of charity …. all of those were pretty much lacking,” she told the BBC. "I would say he was just a Muslim of convenience.”
Similarly, a former friend of Tsarnaev, identified by the fake name “Mike,” stated that the alleged bomber had a major grudge against the American government, possibly connected to his consumption of conspiracy theorist literature.
"He just didn't like America. He felt like America was just basically attacking all Middle Eastern countries … you know, trying to take their oil,” he told the BBC.
Other friends of Tamerlan Tsarnaev say he “dominated” his little brother and disapproved of his pot-smoking slacker lifestyle. Dzhokhar reportedly rarely prayed and spent much of his time smoking.
"He [Dzhokhar] was intimidated, that would probably be the best word. He took him very seriously. He was an authority,” a friend identified as “Tito” claimed.