As the details of the Boston bombing continue to trickle in, many questions remain. Among them, authorities and the public, alike, are naturally wondering what Katherine Tsarnaev (maiden name: Russell) knew, if anything, about her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his purportedly radicalized worldview.
Naturally, one of the major curiosities is how faith may have played a role in the terror attack — which is why a YouTube clip that was brought to our attention sparks some intrigue.
Earlier this week, an avid reader reached out to TheBlaze with a video from the American Muslim Center, an Islamic organization in Everett, Massachusetts. The clip, which is posted on the group’s website, advertises the center’s many activities. However, as the reader points out, a woman named “Kat” is shown in the video speaking about how she recently converted to Islam.
The reader wondered if this individual is, in fact, Tsarnaev’s wife. Obviously, that’s a loaded accusation, but certainly one worth exploring.
Now, there’s no way to tell definitively simply based on the video whether or not this is the same woman that journalists have been reporting on over the past week. But a closer look at Kat’s comments and comparative pictures is warranted.
“My name is Kat. I’m a new convert. I came to American Muslim Center in Everett to convert eight days ago,” the woman proclaims in the video. “And I’m very grateful to have the American Muslim Center so close to where I live. Since I’m new, I have so many questions and having it be so close is truly — is truly great for me.”
See this portion of the clip, below:
Watch the full video, below (see this individual depicted at 5:25):
It’s important to unpack a few details from the woman’s comments. At the time Kat’s portion of the clip was filmed, the woman said that she was a recent convert. According to some sources, Katherine likely converted in 2010 (the couple married on June 21, 2010) after meeting Tsarnaev; this video was uploaded to YouTube in Aug. 2012.
Another piece of information that can be gleaned from Kat’s brief appearance in the American Muslim Center video is the notion that the organization is close to the woman’s home (i.e. “so close to where I live”).
While this could most certainly be coincidence, the apartment in which the Tsarnaev family is said to live — the one in which it is believed that Katherine also resided — is just 11 minutes away from the center, according to a cursory MapQuest search.
Again, this could all be mere coincidence.
Another element worth noting is that Kat, the woman in the clip, appears to have an accent. Since Katherine is from Rhode Island originally, it would seem implausible that she would speak in such a way. Of course, it is possible that she is trying to fit in — but some would likely see this as a stretch.
Also, most media and lawyer accounts have referred to the suspected terrorist’s wife as Katherine or “Katie,” never “Kat.”
There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding which house of worship Tsarnaev — and his wife — might have attended. Previous media reports claim that the alleged bomber was once thrown out of the Islamic Society of Boston after having an outburst during a service.
In a recent Associated Press article, it was reiterated that mosque leaders confirmed Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s attendance in recent months — and that he had two separate outbursts during sermons. These screaming episodes purportedly unfolded when imams encouraged the flock “to celebrate American institutions such as the Fourth of July and figures including Martin Luther King Jr.”
Nicole Mossalam, the executive assistant at the Islamic Society of Boston, though, said that Tamerlan had never been there to her knowledge.
Katherine’s lawyer, Amato DeLuca, claims that his client is a devout Muslim and that she and her husband attended to a local mosque in Cambridge. Although it is located in Everett, the proximity of the American Muslim Center certainly makes it possible that the family was visiting there. And since it isn’t explicitly a “mosque,” it’s possible they visited here as well as at the aforementioned house of worship.
What do you think? Is the woman in the video Katherine? Here’s a side-to-side comparison (take the poll, below):
Editor’s Note: The image has been corrected at the bottom of the screen. While it was originally reported that Russell was the girlfriend who was purportedly hit by Tsarnaev in 2009, sources are now claiming that it was an ex-girlfriend named Nadine Ascencao. The original picture at the bottom of this post was of Ascencao. It has been replaced with Russell’s image.