Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been dead for over two weeks, but he still has not been buried. Cemetery after cemetery has refused to take his body as his uncle Ruslan Tsarni, who famously referred to Tamerlan and his brother as “losers” has searched for a place to put Tamerlan to rest. Ruslan, who has stood out throughout this whole affair as an interesting character, told the media that he didn’t think anybody else would want to be associated with the Tsarnaev brothers.
Tsarni has been aided throughout this process by Peter Stefan, a local funeral director who has become famous for taking on cases where families cannot afford funerals. But they still have not found a place that will take Tsarnaev’s body. Most simply do not want the controversy attached to their cemetery. Others object to Stefan’s insistence that he give Tamerlan Tsarnaev Muslim funeral rites, either because he is not a ‘true’ Muslim or because of some strange attitude that allowing somebody the basic courtesy of funeral rites somehow validates him. Six protesters appeared at Stefan’s funeral home Sunday, holding up signs that said things like, “Throw him off a boat like Osama bin Laden!“
The only potential actual worry I could see here is that Islam has a history of funeral sites becoming shrines. Hence the whole invoking a strange exception in Islamic law to bury Bin Laden at sea thing that we did. But there’s little risk of Tsarnaev becoming a martyr, particularly if he is buried in America. Muslim-Americans by and large abhor acts of terror by Muslims more than the average American (since they risk repercussions by racists and the like), Chechens want nothing to do with Tsarnaev, and even Middle East Islamists are unlikely to identify with his cause. My guess is that wherever Tsarnaev is buried, nobody will visit.