The two brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon worshiped at the Islamic Society of Boston’s mosque in Cambridge, with the older brother disrupting services and challenging the congregation’s moderate theology, the society confirmed on Monday.
The members of the mosque did not have “any hint that they could perpetrate this horrific attack. What we do know, as the details related below will show, was that one suspect disagreed with the moderate American-Islamic theology of the ISB Cambridge mosque,” the society said in a statement.
“Our mosque is one filled with attendees who are teachers, businessmen, doctors, and lawyers, all of whom are committed to the public good. While these suspects did express views counter to our mosque’s philosophy, they never expressed any hint of violent sentiments or behavior.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, began attending prayer services in 2012, while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, rarely attended, the society said.
The older brother twice disrupted services. In November, Tamerlan Tsarnaev disputed a preacher’s statement that it was appropriate to celebrate national holidays, according to the society’s statement.
Then in January, he challenged a preacher who praised the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: Tsarnaev “stood up, shouted and called him a ‘non-believer’; said that he was ‘contaminating people’s minds’ and began calling him a hypocrite,” according to the statement.
Congregants urged Tsarnaev to leave, and once the service was over, he was told he was not welcome to attend the mosque if he continued interrupting services. He attended prayers afterward and remained silent, the society said.
No member of the society’s board or its staff had any interactions with either of the brothers, according to the society, which has urged congregants who spoke to them to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was pronounced dead at a Boston hospital Friday morning after a shootout with police.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured Friday after a manhunt, made his first court appearance Monday from his hospital room in Boston, after he was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction in the bombing. The 19-year-old could face the death penalty if convicted in federal court.