Burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev Proving To Be Difficult

The funeral home that has the body of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is having a hard time finding some place to bury him:

A Worcester funeral home director was scrambling last night to find a cemetery that would bury the marathon bombings mastermind, as protesters jeered outside his door demanding that the bomber’s body be shipped out of the United States.

Emotions ran high outside the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlor, which is handling the unenviable task of burying terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

“He should burn in hell,” said Ann Mink of Worcester, who was part of the sign-toting crowd.

Added Theresa Noye: “I would put him on a boat and drop him in the ocean with Osama bin 

Funeral home owner Peter Stefan told the Herald he has reached out to four cemeteries where Muslims are buried and so far all have turned him down.

Stefan said it would be impossible to send the body back to Russia and added the family wants Tsarnaev buried in Boston.

“They want to bury him here, in Boston, in a Muslim cemetery,” he said. “I’m not going to hold him too long, the federal government is involved in this. If need be I will request help from them. A person has to be buried. Period.

“If we had Hitler here, we would bury Hitler,” Stefan added.

A terrorism expert said the U.S. government should ship Tsarnaev’s body back to his parents in the Caucasus region of Russia.

“I don’t think any cemetery deserves this kind of development. I think any burial — as long as it’s known where he is — they might vandalize the cemetery,” said Edith Flynn, professor emeritus at Northeastern University and a terrorism expert. “My idea in terms of returning the body to Dagestan would be a way to get rid of the problem.”

Flynn said the U.S. government should put Tsarnaev’s body on a military cargo plane a soon as possible.

Reportedly, Tsarnaev’s widow, now living with her parents in Rhode Island, wants nothing to do with any funeral and all the arrangements are being handled by an Uncle from Maryland and one of Tsarnaev’s sisters. Returning the body to Russia doesn’t really seem very practical to me, but it’s understandable why nobody would want to be associated with the bombings.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Chris R. says:

    I understand that everyone deserves a proper burial. However, would the majority of people want to bury their loved ones in the same cemetery as Tamerlan Tsarnaev? I doubt it. I probably wouldn’t. I could see cemeteries making a purely business decision on this alone. Islam of course doesn’t allow cremation, so I think shipping the body out of country might be the most feasible idea. It seems he never adjusted to or really like America anyways, so it makes sense to me on that avenue.

  2. CSK says:

    I don’t understand why the funeral director claims that it’s logistically impossible to ship the body back to Russia. What is the problem? Human remains are returned to their respective home countries all the time.

    As for the family’s insistence that he be buried in Boston–why? Obviously no one here wants him. Is this some sort of in-your-face gesture on the part of the family? Are they saying: “We will make you live with this reminder of one of the worst days in your history?”

    Purely from a practical standpoint, I understand why any cemetery would be reluctant to host him, particularly one in the Boston area. The grave would be turned into an al fresco lavatory in a matter of hours. And there’s also the possibility another group would try to make it into a martyr’s shrine. Perhaps that’s what the family wants.

  3. This is weird and childish.

    I understand why no one wants to bury the guy…..but surely there has to be a grown up somewhere in Boston who will do it.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    It’s got to be at least $5K to ship a body to the Caucasus before you cost in this guy’s services. If no one ponies up the money he goes off to Boston’s Potter’s Field which is where?

  5. CSK says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    The cemeteries that have refused to bury him have all been Muslim cemeteries, or cemeteries that accommodate Muslims, just as no mosque is willing to perform a service for him, so far.

    And, as I pointed out, there are practical considerations. It’s not a question of being a grown-up, it’s a question of whether the trustees of a cemetery are willing to undertake the trouble and considerable expense of mounting a guard over the grave to prevent vandalism.

  6. @CSK:

    It’s not a question of being a grown-up, it’s a question of…prevent(ing) vandalism.”

    So I guess it is a question of being a grown-up……

    And like I said, I get the emotions, can understand them even as I reject them as a valid excuse for this nonsense. Funeral home owner Peter Stefan gets it too:

    “A person has to be buried. Period.”

    So how about we get over ourselves and bury him?

  7. CSK says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    Yes, but you have to question the family’s insistence that he be buried in Boston. Why? The mother has repeatedly said that she and her family hated the place. So what’s their point?

  8. @CSK:

    Yes, but you have to question the family’s insistence that he be buried in Boston.

    Not really….

    I mean, yeah, that’s strange and I can second-guess that decision all day if I want, but why would I waste my time? It’s the family’s wish and they don’t have to justify it to me or anyone. That’s their wish. I don’t have to agree with it to respect it.

  9. CSK says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    It may be moot. The family wants him buried in a Muslim cemetery. So far, the two Muslim cemeteries in the Boston area have refused, and one in Connecticut and one in New Jersey have refused.

  10. @CSK: Someone will bury him. They may not tell the press. They may not even put up a headstone.

    But God will see what they’ve done and reward them, saying, “Finally….someone who listened!” (And I say that as an atheist!)

  11. wr says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb): Hey, stop acting like you’re not living in the 14th century.

  12. CSK says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    That could be problematic, since the family wants a public funeral with a marked gravestone. They also want a private autopsy performed, since they don’t accept the findings of the medical examiner for Suffolk County (Boston). That would, of course, delay burial, but the funeral home director has said the remains will be buried by Monday, adding that he intends to call the overseers/trustees of the Muslims cemeteries who have so far refused to bury Tamerlan to reconsider that decision.

    The mosque that Tamerlan attended in Cambridge has refused to officiate at his funeral, and so has the Boston mosque where he was married. He was expelled from the Cambridge mosque after he protested their decision to honor Martin Luther King and celebrate Thanksgiving.

  13. Chris R. says:

    @CSK: Like I said before, as a purely business decision it doesn’t make sense to accept the body. Not only do you have to deal with security, possible vandalism, and protest, you have to account for a loss of business and furious survivors of people whose loved ones are already buried there.

  14. Joanne says:

    Send his body back to Russia where he belongs. He was not a citizen! Have his parents handle the burial!

  15. roger says:

    OK, so Islam says you can’t cremate the body. Aren’t there also rules about burial needing to happen within 24-36 hours and no autopsy permitted? Since those rules seem to already be broken, why worry about cremation or burial in a non-Muslim cemetery or Potter’s Field?