DOSWELL, Va. (WAVY) - The decision to bury Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell is angering some members of the community.
County officials, including Sheriff Tony Lippa, said they they were not consulted about the decision to bury Tsarnaev in the small Islamic cemetery.
"It caught all of off guard. None of us here before you knew anything about this. Had we known that something like this was going to happen we would raise other questions. We sure would have accommodated the media and made sure everyone was aware of what our plans were and what we would do," said Sheriff Lippa, during a Friday afternoon news conference.
Earlier in the day, Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia confirmed Tsarnaev has been buried at Al-Barzakh Cemetery.
Tuesday, Martha Mullen of Richmond began the effort to find a final resting place for Tsarnaev by sending an email to local representatives of the Methodist, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu communities. She received an offer of a donated burial plot from the administrator of Al-Barzakh .
The cemetery provides Muslim burial according to the moral code and religious law of Islam.
Mullen contacted the Worcester, Mass. police and asked them to give Peter Stefan, the funeral director of Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors the cemetery's information. Tsarnaev's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland, aided in the transfer of Tsarnaev's remains.
On April 15, two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 100 others. Two suspects, identified as brothers Tamerlan and Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, later engaged in a shootout with police, where Tamerlan was killed.
Thursday, Tsarnaev's body was quietly moved to Doswell without public notice.
"We are all brothers and sisters in our humanity," an administrator said. "Muslims, Jews and Christians all believe we are created by God out of one man, a soul and a body. To God belongs the soul, and He has the final judgment…what Tsarnaev did is between him and God. We strongly disagree with his actions, but that does not release us from our obligation to return his body to the earth…We must all take a more positive, proactive approach with our children. We need to be in communication with them and know what they are exposed to on the Internet. As fathers and mothers, we must protect our children before they become poisoned by hatred."
Floyd Thomas, Mattaponi District Chairman, also spoke at the Friday afternoon briefing. He echoed a common theme in the County. "We don't want the county to be remembered as the resting place of the remains of someone who committed a terrible crime," Thomas said. "If no laws were broken, again, there is nothing we can do. However, if there were, I think we would try to undo what was done."
WAVY News 10's Andy Fox was the first local reporter to arrive at the Doswell cemetery Friday. He spoke to a number of community members to get their reaction about the recent events.
"I don't think he should be buried here," resident George Spinner told wavy .com, "[ I ] don't care where they bury just as long as it's not around here," he said.
Doswell is east of Kings Dominion, about two hours from Portsmouth.
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