Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaeva had only recently become a devout Muslim, praying five times a day, his aunt told reporters in Toronto on Friday.
Maret Tsarnaeva believes her nephews, Tamerlan, 26, and Dhaokhar, 19, were framed for the Boston Marathon explosions that killed 3 people and injured 172 on April 15.
"He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can't tie it to religion," she said. "At that age all they want is love, so he found his love, he married, he had a daughter, and he was very happy about his daughter."
But his wife, Katherine Russell converted to Islam when she married Tamerlan, the Daily Mail reported. His wife’s parents, Judith and Warren Russell, said “In the aftermath of the Patriot's Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted."
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His aunt admitted that Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it's not easy.”
She claimed he was not a very devout Muslim, "but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day.”
The FBI said they questioned Tamerlan two years ago at the request of a foreign government, which was not identified.
"The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups," the FBI said in a statement Friday.
Tsarnaeva says she needs more proof before she will believe her nephews were involved in the bombing.
"We're talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that ... I don't know them in the way that they could be capable of this," Tsarnaeva said.
She said she helped the boys, who she said were smart and athletic, apply for refugee status in 2002 when they came to the U.S.
“Within the family, everything was perfect because Anzor is a very loving, soft-hearted father. I don't know what will happen to him," she said.