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Boston Bomber Mom Talked Jihad With Son

The angry and grieving mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects insists that her sons are innocent and that she’s no terrorist.

But Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is drawing increased attention after federal officials say Russian authorities intercepted her phone calls, including one in which she vaguely discussed jihad with her elder son. In another, she was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, U.S. officials said.

In photos of her as a younger woman, Tsarnaeva wears a low-cut blouse and has her hair teased like a 1980s rock star. After she arrived in the U.S. from Russia in 2002, she went to beauty school and did facials at a suburban day spa.

But in recent years, people noticed a change. She began wearing a hijab and cited conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a plot against Muslims.

Tsarnaeva insists there is no mystery and that she’s just someone who found a deeper spirituality. She fiercely defends her sons – Tamerlan, who was killed in a gunfight with police, and Dzhokhar, who was wounded and captured.

“It’s all lies and hypocrisy,” she told The Associated Press in Dagestan. “I’m sick and tired of all this nonsense that they make up about me and my children. People know me as a regular person, and I’ve never been mixed up in any criminal intentions, especially any linked to terrorism.”

At a news conference in Dagestan with her ex-husband Anzor Tsarnaev last week, Tsarnaeva appeared overwhelmed with grief one moment, defiant the next. “They already are talking about that we are terrorists, I am terrorist,” she said. “They already want me, him and all of us to look (like) terrorists.”

Amid the scrutiny, Tsarnaeva and Anzor say they have put off the idea of any trip to the U.S. to reclaim their elder son’s body or try to visit Dzhokhar in jail. Tsarnaev told the AP on Sunday he was too ill to travel to the U.S. Tsarnaeva faces a 2012 shoplifting charge in a Boston suburb, though it was unclear whether that was a deterrent.

Tsarnaeva arrived in the U.S. in 2002, settling in a working-class section of Cambridge, Mass. With four children, Anzor and Zubeidat qualified for food stamps and were on and off public assistance benefits for years. The large family squeezed itself into a third-floor apartment.

Zubeidat took classes at the Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, before becoming a state-licensed aesthetician. Anzor, who had studied law, fixed cars.

By some accounts, the family was tolerant.

Bethany Smith, a New Yorker who befriended Zubeidat’s two daughters, said in an interview with Newsday that when she stayed with the family for a month in 2008 while she looked at colleges, she was welcomed even though she was Christian and had tattoos.

“I had nothing but love over there. They accepted me for who I was,” Smith told the newspaper. “Their mother, Zubeidat, she considered me to be a part of the family. She called me her third daughter.”

Zubeidat said she and Tamerlan began to turn more deeply into their Muslim faith about five years ago after being influenced by a family friend, named “Misha.” The man, whose full name she didn’t reveal, impressed her with a religious devotion that was far greater than her own, even though he was an ethnic Armenian who converted to Islam.

“I wasn’t praying until he prayed in our house, so I just got really ashamed that I am not praying, being a Muslim, being born Muslim. I am not praying. Misha, who converted, was praying,” she said.

By then, she had left her job at the day spa and was giving facials in her apartment. One client, Alyssa Kilzer, noticed the change when Tsarnaeva put on a head scarf before leaving the apartment.

“She had never worn a hijab while working at the spa previously, or inside the house, and I was really surprised,” Kilzer wrote in a post on her blog. “She started to refuse to see boys that had gone through puberty, as she had consulted a religious figure and he had told her it was sacrilegious. She was often fasting.”

Kilzer wrote that Tsarnaeva was a loving and supportive mother, and she felt sympathy for her plight after the April 15 bombings. But she stopped visiting the family’s home for spa treatments in late 2011 or early 2012 when, during one session, she “started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me that she thought 9/11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate Muslims.”

“It’s real,” Tsarnaeva said, according to Kilzer. “My son knows all about it. You can read on the Internet.”

In the spring of 2010, Zubeidat’s eldest son got married in a ceremony at a Boston mosque that no one in the family had previously attended. Tamerlan and his wife, Katherine Russell, a Rhode Island native and convert from Christianity, now have a child who is about 3 years old.

Zubeidat married into a Chechen family but was an outsider. She is an Avar, from one of the dozens of ethnic groups in Dagestan. Her native village is now a hotbed of an ultraconservative strain of Islam known as Salafism or Wahabbism.

It is unclear whether religious differences fueled tension in their family. Anzor and Zubeidat divorced in 2011.

About the same time, there was a brief FBI investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, prompted by a tip from Russia’s security service.

The vague warning from the Russians was that Tamerlan, an amateur boxer in the U.S., was a follower of radical Islam who had changed drastically since 2010. That led the FBI to interview Tamerlan at the family’s home in Cambridge. Officials ultimately placed his name, and his mother’s name, on various watch lists, but the inquiry was closed in late spring of 2011.

After the bombings, Russian authorities told U.S. investigators they had secretly recorded a phone conversation in which Zubeidat had vaguely discussed jihad with Tamerlan. The Russians also recorded Zubeidat talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation with reporters.

The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family.

Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told NBC’s “Today” show Monday he believes the FBI investigation of the two young men would have gone much further if the Russian government had informed Washington of “the mother’s radicalization, the son’s radicalization. .. It definitely would have caused the investigation to go further.”

Anzor’s brother, Ruslan Tsarni, told the AP from his home in Maryland that he believed his former sister-in-law had a “big-time influence” on her older son’s growing embrace of his Muslim faith and decision to quit boxing and school.

While Tamerlan was living in Russia for six months in 2012, Zubeidat, who had remained in the U.S., was arrested at a shopping mall in the suburb of Natick, Mass., and accused of trying to shoplift $1,624 worth of women’s clothing from a department store.

She failed to appear in court to answer the charges that fall, and instead left the country.

Read full article at AP

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  • MH Snider

    There is MUCH more to this whole deal than we are being allowed to hear. You Jan know how the government controls the media better than most.

    • CHinOhio

      Can you say “Benghazi”? Same stuff, different tragedy.

  • MH Snider

    Can we all say “False Flag” ??????????? I NO LONGER TRUST OUR GOVERNMENT WITH ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have a illegal sitting in as the POTUS making UNCONSTITUTIONAL Laws almost daily. I no longer believe ANYTHING. Iceland had a Revolution without firing a shot and our government controlled media refused to report it. Wake up Jan.

  • SFS444

    Turn that muslim bitch over to the Russians or Israelis. They’ll know how to take care of this taliban slave.

  • sagoodlife@yahoo.com

    So, let’s see: You came here for, presumably, a better life and better opportunities. You took advantage of the welfare system which you had not, in any way at that point, contributed to. You accused our government of murdering U.S. citizens, based on internet conspiracy theories you read on the internet. (And of course, we all know, they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.) You enjoyed the freedom to worship, and to change your religious lifestyle, which our forefathers fought to protect. At some point, though, you grew dissatisfied with America and our way of life, and began to plot jihad with your kids. Well, at least you’re not here any more, so that’s good-wouldn’t want to inflict ourselves on you any longer. Go experience the freedom and tolerance for which Russia is so well-known. Oh, and if your conscience bothers you so much, you can return all the money you received as “assistance,” and you can pay for the merchandise you STOLE while you were here.

  • CHinOhio

    “Never been mixed up in any criminal intentions”… Well, except for that little outstanding warrant for felony theft, being recorded discussing jihad with your son who killed and injured many, and fled the country rather than do jail time and be deported. I am not for hitting women, but I do not see her as a woman. I see her as a terrorist breeder and supporter.

  • Zepp

    She’s as guilty as they are. I don’t trust any Muslims

  • 12grace

    This is a prime example of why we must enforce ALL of our immigration laws.

  • His Mother may have simply been schoolling him about jihad. After all; they are Muslims. Want to know about anything; why not talk to Mom about it. Could be just an education process. May have been nothing sinister about their discussion on the subject.

    We can’t create collaborators where there aren’t any. The remaining bomber will have his day in court; that’s if he live long enough. Nothing to be gained by incriminating his Mother.

    • CHinOhio

      You sound like a sympathizer who is drinking the Kool-Aid, Charles.

  • This is nothing new. ALL muslims are like this period. Look what they believe in and then tell me differently.

  • GEORGE MORRISON

    thats really good,ya go shoplift and then leave the country not only are these folks liars,bombers, thuggs&radical muslims they are also cowards,they need to stay in russia or wherever they crawled out from under their rocks

  • Eazid Badsha

    If you go through the verses of Quran, you will see the standard positions of Infidels/Kafirs/Malaun. The meaning of these terms are sinful animals like an ants/cockrochs. They all are cursed. It is His order to fight against them and behead them. The moderates are ignorant. When these moderates will gain actual knowlegde of these verses, they will be the extrimists.

  • Eazid Badsha

    Global peace and harmony with uplifts are written and accepted by UN in 1948 as “Human rights declaration”. All the muslim countries had signed it with hipocrasy. They actually do not follow it. As their “the BOOK” teach them, they follow it. Actually these ideologies are cult for humanity. I request everybody to read it and to understand the hate speech written on it. They claim all the invents and discoveries are written there. Like a “Miracle Book”. To establish a peaceful, secure globe, this cult philosophy must be eliminated.

  • garycrittenden

    If the USA gave this family “political asylum”, why were they allowed to travel back and forth to the country that they supposedly were afraid of living in?

  • agbjr

    One boy already got what he deserved, the other is – hopefully – going to receive the same fate as his brother, and mom … well, no sympathy for her at all because frankly she is the cause of their actions and her own problems. Of course I’d really like to smack the s**t outa the (B)itch.