The funeral director for Tamerlan Tsarnaev received numerous rejections from cemeteries in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey refusing the burial of the deceased Boston terror suspect.
Tsarnaev, 26, whose cause of death was revealed Friday, died of gunshot wounds and blunt force trauma. He was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass., on April 19. It was reported that his brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ran over Tamerlan's body as he escaped in an SUV.
The Tsarnaev family claimed his body from the Massachusetts state medical examiner’s office early Thursday night. His uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, said this week the family intends to give Tamerlan a traditional Muslim funeral.
The owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors, Peter Stefan, is handling the funeral arrangements for the family.
“We take care of a lot of Muslim funerals here, throughout the state,” Stefan said, “and this was no different, except for the circumstances.”
Stefan told WBZ-TV that the family wants Tsarnaev to be buried locally.
“It costs too much to fly him back to Russia,” Stefan said.
A traditional Muslim funeral includes bathing and shrouding the body. In Islam, under Sharia law, a corpse should be buried shortly after death, but Tsarnaev ’s body was not claimed for nearly two weeks.
A cemetery is West Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston, refused to bury Tsarnaev there. Cemeteries in Enfield, Conn., and others in New Jersey also declined to bury the Russian-born Tsarnaev.
“There’s a fear there,” Stefan says. “Will people want to go to the cemetery, or will people be upset that somebody who’s a terrorist will be buried next to their Uncle Freddy.”
Stefan said if he is ultimately unable to find a cemetery for Tsarnaev “we have to go to the federal government and then we have to ask them for assistance.”
The funeral parlor hired a police detail for their establishment through the weekend. He is concerned protests could occur.
“You’re always going to get a certain amount of people that are probably going to complain about what you do,” he said.
Stefan plans to continue to search for a burial site for Tsarneav.
“Everybody has a right to be buried. I can’t separate the sins from the sinner,” he said.