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Funeral Home Director: Mother Wants Bomb Suspect’s Body Back In Russia

Ruslan Tsarni, right, uncle of killed Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in front of the Graham, Putnam, and Mahoney Funeral Parlor in Worcester on Sunday. (Steven Senne/AP)

Ruslan Tsarni, right, uncle of killed Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in front of the Graham, Putnam, and Mahoney Funeral Parlor in Worcester on Sunday. (Steven Senne/AP)

WORCESTER, Mass. — Worcester funeral home director Peter Stefan says the mother of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev wants her son’s body sent back to Russia for burial.

“It’s his mother, so are you going to say to her? What can you say?” Stefan said. “They would love to have him back there [in Russia] but I haven’t heard from anybody that says they can do that. That would be ideal.”

Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, arrived at the Graham, Putnam, and Mahoney Funeral Parlor in Worcester from his home in Maryland Sunday and prepared his nephew’s body for a Muslim burial. Although Stefan has received offers to bury the body in out-of-state cemeteries, Tsarni says the body should stay in Massachusetts.

“He is not merchandise to ship him here, ship him there,” Tsarni said. “He lived here most of his life, the life that he understood, from 15 on he lived here.”

But officials in Cambridge, where Tsarnaev lived, have asked the family not to formally apply to bury him in the city cemetery, saying it’s not in the city’s best interest.

Stefan says he’s willing to wait out the controversy.

“I have refrigeration, I can hold him for a long time,” Stefan said. “It’d be a great idea if we could send him to Russia. But I’d have to have something from the State Department just get the proper paperwork, this is a national security situation, and send him over.”

Tsarnaev’s body has been in Worcester since Friday and protesters have shown up every day calling Stefan “un-American” for agreeing to accept the body. Worcester activist Bill Breault has started a fund to raise money to send Tsarnaev’s body to Russia. But he says it’s not because that’s what Tsarnaev’s family wants.

“I don’t want to be politically correct. I’m not looking to give the family anything. My sympathies are with those that died. I look at him as a terrorist,” Brealut said.

Both Breault and Stefan say they have asked state and federal officials to intervene. But Gov. Deval Patrick says this is not an issue for government.

“This is not a state or federal matter; it’s a family matter,” Patrick said. “And the family has options and I assume that they will exercise one of those options and I hope that they do so soon.”

A spokesman for Worcester U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the congressman is in talks to resolve the issue. But once Tsarnaev’s body is buried, Stefan may have other problems.

Worcester Police Department spokesman Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst says someone is going to have to pay for the six Worcester police officers who have been guarding the funeral home around the clock since Friday.

“Right now we still have the officers present. At this point, who’s going to be responsible for funding this?” Hazelhurst said. “It’s going to be something that the city administration is going to have to work with the owner of this funeral parlor.”

Stefan says he hopes the issue will be resolved soon.

This post was updated with Morning Edition feature content.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    well the dead mans corpse story is not the top headline on NPR but its still above the fold. how pathetic

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Louis-Krodel/1632860166 Louis Krodel

    He should be cremated and the family can spread the ashes and not burden us any more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Page/100002550930740 Andrew Page

    Props to the Funeral Director. Don’t envy him this thankless task. That said, Tamerlan should be converted to fish food.

  • Catherine Hurst

    I agree that the Funeral Director deserves props. Everyone deserves a respectful burial, no matter who they are. And the Muslim faith does not allow cremation, so that is not an alternative. I do think it’s a news story, because it says something about us as a people, and I hope what it eventually says is that we will permit this and move on.

    • William Hanigan

      I am sure that you remember the treatment of the bodies of American soldiers by Islamic people. The hacked the bodies with shovels, axes, stones and timbers. then distributed the remains to their dogs.I have not heard that recommended by Mass citizens. I fully respect their decision to deny him burial in our Commonwealth. Put him in the ocean like Bin Laden, or let his parents ship him to their homeland for internment.

  • isarose

    Bury him at sea according to Muslim tradition (like Bin Laden). Cremation is not a Muslim rite as I understand it. And I say let the family come if they want.

    • rich4321

      Totally agree!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Melissa-Morse/741671023 Melissa Morse

    How does everyone miss the obvious -THE FAMILY NEEDS TO PAY TO SHIP THE BODY back to the family overseas. He doesn’t belong there. He’s not a citizen. If money is an issue, the family needs to go to the community and do their own fundraising. We don’t need to foot one single more dollar to this loser.

    I hope taxpayers aren’t paying the bill on his funeral costs…not one penny.

    • orangegenie1

      I’m with you on that 100%!! The family and the terrorists from which they came can pay for it to be shipped. There must be something in their traditions or religion that would demand that. Let’s hope they hurry and do something–take the body back home and bury it in the family plot.

  • rich4321

    This is annoying, all the attentions pay to the dead body of a monster. They dumped Bin Laden’s body in the ocean, why not just do the same?

    • Pointpanic

      we don’t want to exacerbate the marine pollution that’s why.

  • ElinaProcrastinator

    Actually, he is a US citizen and is not the first nor the last American murderer, so the fact that cemeteries are discriminating against him is almost as despicable as his actions. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    • dust truck

      This is the first I’ve ever heard of murderers getting burials. I’m frankly amazed that ANY of them are allowed proper burials after their crimes.

      • ElinaProcrastinator

        really, the first time? what do you think happened to thousands of people accused of or convicted of murder after they died?

        • dust truck

          Honestly? I never thought of it before. I had assumed they were dumped in mass graves by prisons (as Sandra Whaley is suggesting above). It’s about the only place that

          a) the caretakers won’t have to worry about vandalism or protests; and
          b) a majority of the public would be willing to accept.

          All other options are disrespectful to the victims and their families by giving such an honor to murderers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/writewhale Sandra Whaley

    I suggest he can be buried in one of the graveyards at one of our prisons. This is a serious suggestion. These graveyards do exist. It would be very fitting.

  • carlegardner@gmail.com

    He is not a US citizen, but his younger brother is. His Uncle should agree to transfer control to the Feds and let them decide what to do?

    • rich4321

      Citizen or not, he has no place in this world, dead or alive.

  • paulagoldman20

    Under no circumstances should this evil killer be buried in any cemetery anywhere in the world where admirers, followers could erect some kind of a shrine. I say feed him to the fishes.

  • William Hanigan

    After having watched the way other Islamic members have reacted to the bodies of American Armed Forces, dragging them through the streets, hacking at them with shovels, axes, and chopping them into pieces, I can’t understand why we should treat his body any differently. AS far as I am concerned, wrap him in bacon fat, drop him in the woods and let the dogs eat him.

    • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

      I can’t understand why we should treat his body any differently.

      Um, perhaps because we are more civilized than that?

  • Pointpanic

    His body could be used for compost in a community garden. At least there, he’s good for something.

  • Jeanne

    Don’t let this man’s inhuman actions reduce our civility and humanity to his level. His family should be provided with the peace of a decent burial.

  • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

    Un-American vs. Un-Christian

    Tsarnaev’s body has been in Worcester since Friday and protesters have shown up every day calling Stefan “un-American” for agreeing to accept the body.

    I don’t know if the protesters outside the funeral home in Worcester are adherents to the Christian tradition, but consider the sentiments of Jesus in Luke 9:60:

    Let those who are dispirited and bereaved bury their dead brethren in peace. Our mission is to build a more peaceable society for the sake of future generations.

    If it’s “un-American” to permit burial rites for the deceased bombing suspect in America, and if it’s un-Christian to deny the bereaved the right to bury their dead in peace, then we have an impasse that implies one of two ineluctable conclusions:

    1) Either Christianity is un-American, or

    2) America is un-Christian.

    As I understand it (from this report on Radio Boston), the civil law in Massachusetts requires that Tamerlan Tsarnaev be buried in a dignified fashion in the locale where he died, and Christianity teaches that same act of grace toward the bereaved and their dead brethren.

    I would pray that the protesters find it in their heart to equate American civil law with the concordant teachings of Christianity, and forebear of throwing our communities into this troubling conundrum pitting volatile community sentiment against both American civil law and the teachings of Christianity.

    • J__o__h__n

      As neither the legal system nor the corpse are or were Christian, I don’t see how Christian values apply.

  • orangegenie1

    For Barry: You sound like you didn’t know that the U.S. is not “Christian” per se, but a mix of religions, faiths and spiritualities. It is very well known by now! Also, that the Tsarnaev family is Muslim and prefer the Islamic traditions of burial. Different countries and cultures have their own traditions and many are very similar. I think right now, many are for the teachings of the Navy SEALS the way they handled bin Laden, and hurl this terrorist’s body overboard way, way, way out in the ocean where the ‘Gods of Civilization’ can embrace him. If the gods be in shark form, so be it.

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