In the wake of the Boston Marathon terror attack, debate emerged and intensified surrounding suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsaernev’s burial location. In the midst of furor, on Thursday, TheBlaze reported that his body was entombed in an undisclosed location. Within 24 hours, the mystery locale was purportedly found, as media began bustling over a source’s claim that the alleged terrorist was laid to rest at the Al-Barzakh Cemetery (run by the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia) in Doswell, Virginia.
The Richmond Times Dispatch, among other outlets, reported that Tsarnaev’s body was buried at the cemetery after a woman not associated with the case coordinated the proceedings. The individual in question, Martha Mullen, is a counselor and a member of a local United Methodist church. After learning of the public debate surrounding what to do with the body, she allegedly launched an inter-faith effort to ensure a peaceful burial.
“It’s horrible what happened, but I guess I just feel that Jesus says love your enemies and I really believe that,” Mullen told the outlet. “I also think when somebody’s dead … you just need to bury them and move on.”
Mullen’s path toward involvement is an interesting one. She apparently reached out to authorities on Tuesday to offer assistance. Then, she purportedly coordinated with Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, and a diverse faith coalition to ensure that proper action would be taken. A press release published by the Times Dispatch explains the process in detail:
On May 7 Martha Mullen, a private Virginia citizen, quietly coordinated efforts to resolve the problem of where to bury Tsarnaev’s remains. Mullen initiated an email stream to local representatives of the church where she is a member, as well as to representatives of local Muslin, Jewish, and Hindu communities. After receiving an offer of a burial plot from the administration of the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia (IFSVA), Mullen then contacted the administrative secretary of the Worcester, MA chief of police.
Mullen requested that Peter A. Stefan, the funeral director of Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worchester, MA, be given the contact information for the administrators of ISFVA, which provides Muslim burial according to the tenets of Islam. That evening Mullen also discussed with her local pastor her moral and ethical reasons for spearheading this effort. “Jesus tells us “love your enemies” she said. “Not to hate them even after they are dead.” Her pastor expressed support for Mullen’s Christian convictions and encouraged her interfaith efforts. Faith principles also motivated the Muslim administrators of ISFVA, who coordinated the transfer of Tsarnaev’s remains with Peter Stefan, the Worchester police, and Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Mullen added that the protests that surrounded Tsarnaev’s burial “portrayed America at its worst” — she decided to take action.
On Friday, Tsarni, the terror suspect’s uncle, confirmed that the body was entombed, telling reporters that a “faith coalition” helped in completing the task. Tsarni allegedly drove with the body to the site, telling CBS News that Tsarnaev was “buried with the help of the good people of this country.”
A website that purportedly belongs to the Al-Barzakh Cemetery does not have a great deal of information and has numerous pages that claim to be “under construction.” However, a brief description reads (spelling and grammar kept in tact), “More than 12 Muslims are currently buried at Al Barzakh Cemetary. Al-Barzakh Cemetary is the First All Muslilm Cemetary located in Central Viginia. This effort came about due to the hard work and efforts of many concerned Muslims in the area. May Allah reward them for their efforts Amin.”
Worcester Police said Thursday that a “courageous and compassionate” individual came forward to offer assistance with burying the alleged terrorist. It appears, if reports and her claims are accurate, that Mullen may be this person.