- Articles & Analysis
- Last Updated: January 15, 2014
The suspects behind the bombings during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, Chechen brothers Djohar (Dzhokhar) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, both maintained social networking accounts, one on the microblogging website Twitter, and the other on the video sharing site YouTube. According to reports, Tamerlan was killed during a clash with police on April 19, and Djohar was later taken into police custody after a hours-long manhunt.
As reportedly confirmed by Djohar's friends, the 19-year-old Boston bombings suspect has a Twitter account under the name "J_tsar," which he made in October 2011. While most of his posts concern his day to day life and experiences at school and with friends, on the day of the bombings, April 15, Djohar posted, "Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people". The following day, as authorities were scouring surveillance footage from the scene of the attack looking for clues about the perpetrator or perpetrators, he posted: "There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don't hear them cuz they're the minority"
He also tweeted messages to friends, including his writing "fake story" to a post about a man who found the woman he was going to propose to dead as a result of the bombings. Later, on April 17, he posted a terse message, "I'm a stress free kind of guy," and then, twelve hours later, retweeted a post from an Islamic scholar in Zimbabwe, Mufti Ismail Menk: "Attitude can take away your beauty no matter how good looking you are or it could enhance your beauty, making you adorable."
Among the 104 accounts Djohar followed is "Ghuraba," meaning "Strangers," with the account "Al_firdausiA," which translates to "the highest level of Paradise, Allah willing". The account has eight tweets and nine followers, including Djohar. Among his tweets, "Ghuraba" indicated he lives in the West, and advocated readers to listen to an audio series by now-deceased radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, saying that they will "gain an unbelievable amount of knowledge."
On March 13, 2013, Djohar retweeted one of Ghuraba's messages, "It's our responsibility my brothers & sisters to ease the hardships of the oppressed and give us victory over kufr [disbelief] #islam #dua"
Regarding the second bombing suspect, a YouTube account by a user calling himself "muazseyfullah" gives his name as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and was opened in August 17, 2012. Tamerlan did not post any of his own videos, but created playlists and "liked" various videos.
Among the videos Tamerlan liked are two from radical Australian preacher Feiz Mohammed. In one of them, titled, "Harry Potter (In For A Surprise)," Mohammed criticized parents who allow their children to watch "Harry Potter" movies because of their depiction of wizards, magic, and indecency, when they should instead have their children stay away from such fantasy and believe in God and "tawhid," meaning oneness in God. Tamerlan also created a playlist for Russian musical artist Timur Mucuraev, one of which promotes jihad.
In his "Islam" playlist, Tamerlan placed seven videos, one of which was deleted, three of which are the same, and another is by Feiz Mohammed. One of the videos, an English-language production called, "The Emergence of Prophecy: The Black Flags from Khorasan," promotes the final prophecy of Islam coming from the Afghan-Pakistan region. On the top-tier jihadist forum Shumukh al-Islam, jihadists noted Tamerlan liking this video and believed it demonstrated his faith in Islam.
Another video in the "Islam" playlist is a 3 minute, 33 second, Russian-language piece titled, "Abdul Hamid al-Juhani | About Mishari al-Afasi and the Sufis," claiming that Sufis in Chechnya kill Sunni Muslims and curse their scholars.
Tamerlan also created a playlist called "Favorite videos," with five videos, one of which was deleted. One is an English-language lecture by a preacher named "Omar al-Banna" about who is God. Another video is from Kavkaz Center, a media outlet for Chechen fighters, about a visit by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov to Saudi Arabia, and a third is about the "true essence" of Sufis in Chechnya.