During several trips to Dagestan, Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent much of his time in a mosque known for producing Islamist extremists.
In 2011, Tsarnaev took his first trip to Dagestan after a decade of living in the US, and visited a Salafist mosque associated with Islamist extremism. In 2002, suspects of the Kotrova Street mosque were accused of a May Day parade explosion. In 2005, police cornered and killed Murad Lakhiyanov, a regular attendee and leader of an underground Islamist extremism group.
Investigations into Tsarnaev’s second visit to Dagestan in 2012 remain weirdly average, alluding to nothing more than time spent with friends and family. According to his Dagestani family, Tsarnaev spent most of his time sleeping in or helping his father renovating a store. The purpose of the trip was merely to renew his passport, said Tsarnaev’s father. Considering the mildness of his trip, it’s surprising that he began to post jihadist videos immediately after.
It was during this second trip that Russian counterterrorism forces began monitoring Tsarnaev’s actions.
Upon his return, the FBI received a tip that Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam. After reviewing his information and calling him in for questioning, it was determined that no threat existed at the domestic or foreign level. However, the Department of Homeland Security withheld his petition for citizenship, harboring a small belief of uncertainty.
According to sources at Fox News, investigators are searching for a connection between Tsarnaev and Doku Umarov, leader of the extremist group Caucaus Emirate. Umarov’s violent crusades against Russian citizens and his connection to Al Queda lead some to call him Russia’s Osama bin Laden.