Boston Bombings: The Most Important Questions


Boston Bombings

Muslims around the world held their breath once news of the cowardly Boston marathon bombings broke initially, and with good reason.

In the post 9/11 world, any attack perpetrated by someone remotely linked to the Islamic faith is blamed on the religion and way of life followed by the worlds 2.2 billion Muslims. This line of thinking is reserved exclusively for attackers and terrorists linked to Islam, or Muslims. The Anders Breiviks, James Holmes, Narendra Modis of this world dont have to go through such scrutiny.

Internet forums such as 4chan and Reddit were soon buzzing with armchair detectives identifying brown folk on images and videos of the Boston marathon. Then there was the Saudi national a victim of the bombing just like the other 150-odd people injured and trying to get away in the panic that ensued. Even as he was being questioned by the authorities at the hospital, some media outlets started reporting it as a significant breakthrough and him as a suspect. The Boston police eventually nullified that rumour, but by then the narrative had been set.

If this wasnt the handiwork of an Al-Qaeda linked sleeper cell, it must be a disgruntled lone wolf Muslim extremist. If it turned out to be aCaucasianitll probably be a convert indoctrinated with extremist ideology either in a mosque in the US or on a trip to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

The emergence of two Chechen brothers as prime suspects made the job easier for the media. Never mind the Chechnyans having more on their mind than attacking the US for foreign policy blunders and aggression in far off Muslim lands. Never mind a full blown decades long conflict right at home, fighting the Russian armed forces for freedom for their homeland. If it is a Muslim, or in this case if the suspect has written the word Islam on his social media profile, he must be a Jihadi.

Here we had two American citizens, brought up in the US after migrating over a decade ago, spent their years growing up integrated in the society they lived in the younger brother Dzhokhar more so than Tamerlan. Seemignly intelligent and talented youngsters, their influences, upbringing, social fabric, interactions and their anger is more American than it is Chechnyan or anything else.

There is no record of the brothers spending long stretches of time in foreign lands. If they are Islamists, and if they were properly radicalized, why were they so intent on escape? If there was a political message, where is it? Theres no video, no letter, no blogs, no diaries nothing that has come to light that can come close to linking their alleged actions to faith-based terrorism.

There are a million questions that need answering once Dzokhar or Jahar as hes known is in a position to talk. However, disowning two American citizens because of their Chechnyan background will not help Americas cause. If there is a problem at home, particularly one that isnt seemingly a reaction to the ripples caused by the US foreign policy and the injustices it leaves it its wake, Americas interests would be best served by deep introspective look at and a question that should be of utmost importance to Americans what pushes its citizens to cause murder and mayhem whether it is in a village in Afghanistan in the early morning hours, in a packed school or university, or at the finish line of a sporting event.

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is an editor and analyst at – writing on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Dan also writes for the defense and security journal Fortress Magazine, published out of Karachi, Pakistan, and is a senior research fellow at the Pakistan Institute of Strategic Affairs.

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