Now that one of the Boston Bombing suspects is dead and the other is in police custody, the history of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has begun to emerge, offering a peek into their lives in an attempt to figure out why they might have done it. It’s been uncovered that the mother of the suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, may have been the one to lead her oldest son to take on such radical religious views that led him to the attack that killed three people and injured over 170 more at the Boston Marathon last Monday. Here’s everything you need to know about Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
1. Zubeidat Tsarnaeva Met Her Husband in Kalmykia
According to the Wall Street Journal, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva grew up in the Russian republic of Dagestan, but met her husband, Anzor Tsarnaev, in Elista, the provincial capital of the Kalmykia region where they were both students. There she gave birth to their first child and the now dead Boston Bombing suspect, Tamerlan, but they eventually settled back in Anzor’s homeland of Kyrgyzstan. The family grew to include two daughters, Ailina and Bella, and finally Dzhokhar, the second bombing suspect.
2. They Moved to the United States About 10 Years Ago
Anzor worked in the prosecutor’s office in Bishkek, but was eventually fired from the job in 1999 shortly after war broke out in Chechnya. Anzor suspected that he had been fired because of discrimination against Chechens. He became a mechanic and moved the family to Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, before reaching the United States about 10 years ago. They joined one of Anzor’s brothers who was already living in the Boston area.
3. She Went to Beauty School and Became a Cosmologist
Zubeidat went to cosmetology school and started specializing in facials at a suburban Boston spa.
4. Zubeidat Persuaded Tamerlan Into a More Intense Form of Islam
Sometime between 2007 and 2009, Zubeidat felt that Tamerlan was “slipping into a life of marijuana, girls and alcohol.”
“I told Tamerlan that we are Muslim, and we are not practicing our religion, and how can we call ourselves Muslims?” Zubeidat said. “And that’s how Tamerlan started reading about Islam, and he started praying, and he got more and more and more into his religion.”
Tamerlan radically transformed as a result. He quit drinking a smoking and even gave up boxing because he said it went against the Islamic religion to punch another man in the face.
5. She Became More Radical Herself
Zubeidat started reading and learning about Islam and grew increasingly religious alongside Tamerlan. She quit her job and started doing facials in her own home because she didn’t want to work on men any longer. Her sister-in-law, Maret Tsarnaeva, said she was startled by Zubeidat’s religious transformation, after noticing she started covering herself with a veil.
“We’re not used to seeing her like that because she used to wear high heels and a low dress,” Maret said.
6. She Believed 9/11 Was a Conspiracy
According to the Boston Herald, Alyssa Kilzer, 23, and her mother had gone to Zubeidat’s Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment many times for facials between 2006 and 2012. At one appointment, Kilzer said Zubeidat “started quoting a conspiracy theory, telling me how she thought 9/11 was purposely created by the American government to make Americans hate Muslims,” and she said that Tamerlan knew all about it.
7. Her Marriage Broke Down Because of the Religious Changes
Zubeidat and Anzor’s marriage degraded when she started embracing the Islamic religion and he eventually left her about two years ago. They both moved back to Dagestan.
“He said, ‘You are being crazy, covering yourselves,'” Zubeidat recalled her husband saying. “This is what Islamic men should want,” she said. “This is what I am supposed to do.”
Anzor was also frustrated with Tamerlan for giving up boxing, who was a boxer himself.
“I told him I trained him all his life so that he could accomplish something, so that he could be a champion at something,” Anzor said. “He discarded it.”
8. She Insists That Her Sons are Innocent
According to Slate, both Zubeidat and Anzor strongly believe that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar are innocent and that they are being framed. Anzor said that the police targeted them because they are muslim, while Zubeidat said the authorities “wanted to eliminate [Tamerlan] as a threat because he was in love with Islam.”
9. Zubeidat Said FBI Agents Met With Tamerlan At Least Five Times
The FBI confirmed that they met with Tamerlan under an investigation to extremist ties, however, they didn’t find any incriminating evidence against him.
“They came and asked him, what are you doing, what are you up to?” Zubeidat recalled. “They said Tamerlan was an influential lad, he had the personality of a leader and they asked me, ‘Don’t you have any thoughts that he could organize some kind of group of a terrorist persuasion?’ They said they’d seen what kind of videos he’d been looking at. And they told me that they keep young leaders among Muslims under control so there aren’t any bombings, so that they don’t fall under someone’s influence.”
Tamerlan is thought to have maintained a YouTube account featuring videos sympathizing with radical Muslims.
10. She Was Arrested for Shoplifting Last Year
The Natick Patch reports that Zubeidat was arrested June 13, 2012 and charged with larceny of women’s clothing valued at $1,624 and two counts of malicious/wanton damage/defacement to property.
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