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April 25, 2013 3

Parallels Between Boston Bomber And Australian Preacher

The online activ­ity of Tamer­lan Tsar­naev, the dead Boston Marathon bomb­ing sus­pect, reveals a fas­ci­na­tion with mil­i­tancy and Islam, includ­ing an Aus­tralian preacher named Feiz Moham­mad whose life has some inter­est­ing par­al­lels to the bomber.tamerlan-tsarnaev-feiz-mohammad-youtube-boston-bomber

While it remains unclear to what degree Tsar­naev was influ­enced or rad­i­cal­ized by any of the mate­ri­als he was view­ing online, he appar­ently added at least two videos of Feiz Moham­mad, who is known for his extreme anti-West views, to his YouTube channel.

Moham­mad, who blames non-Muslims in the West for Mus­lim vic­tim­hood and has glo­ri­fied “mar­tyr­dom,” has a large col­lec­tion of English-language Islamic lec­tures avail­able online. In a video posted to YouTube in 2007, he claims that Mus­lims today are not suf­fi­ciently ded­i­cated to mar­tyr­dom and there­fore are “the most humil­i­ated nation on the face of this earth.” He adds, “It is not as appeal­ing as it was to those ances­tors — the great warriors.”

In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in Decem­ber 2010, he teaches his stu­dents that fol­low­ers of other sects of Islam, such as Sufi Mus­lims and Shite Mus­lims, are not true Mus­lims and accord­ing to Islamic law deserve execution.

In addi­tion to pro­mot­ing mil­i­tant themes, Moham­mad seeks to appeal to a younger gen­er­a­tion of Mus­lim immi­grants by shar­ing his per­sonal story as a lost young immi­grant who found an iden­tity by strictly adher­ing to Islam.

Sev­eral of his lec­tures focus on warn­ing Mus­lims liv­ing in the West of the dan­gers of adopt­ing the lifestyle of non-Muslim West­ern­ers. In a lec­ture posted on YouTube in April 2012, he warns Mus­lims against lov­ing non-Muslims or befriend­ing them: “Isn’t this why we are a slave by them [non-Muslims]? Because we are lov­ing their ways, we are mix­ing in their ways. We are being a Kafir [infi­del] our­selves by enjoy­ing their lifestyles.”

An inter­view with Tamer­lan Tsar­naev pub­lished while he was train­ing for the 2009 Golden Gloves box­ing com­pe­ti­tion revealed Tamerlan’s dif­fi­culty assim­i­lat­ing into Amer­i­can cul­ture. He is quoted in the inter­view say­ing, “I don’t have a sin­gle Amer­i­can friend, I don’t under­stand them.”

Like Tsar­naev, Mohammad’s fam­ily emi­grated from a war-torn coun­try. Mohammad’s fam­ily immi­grated to Aus­tralia from Tripoli in north­ern Lebanon. Also like Tsar­naev, Feiz Moham­mad spent his teenage years box­ing, which he later denounced. The names he acquired as a boxer included “Frank the Killer” and “The Beast.”

At the age of 19, Moham­mad report­edly decided to embrace a con­ser­v­a­tive form of reli­gious teach­ings known as Salafism and became pop­u­lar among the Salafist groups in Syd­ney. After pur­su­ing an Islamic edu­ca­tion in Med­ina, Saudi Ara­bia, he returned to Aus­tralia. He then founded the “Global Islamic Youth Cen­tre” (GIYC) and opened a Madras­sah, a tra­di­tional Islamic reli­gious school.

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