Soon after the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon, Dr. Jeffrey Addicott, director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University, said he was fairly certain about the possible motive.
Now he knows that both bombing suspects are originally from the war-torn Soviet republic of Chechnya that is primarily Muslim.
“What motivated them is not a cry for freedom against Russia, they’re motivated by radical Islamic extremism,” Addicott said.
However, federal investigators have not said what led to the bombings that day, and no group has taken responsibility.
Although 26-year-old Tamerland Tsarnaev and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar were raised in the U.S., Addicott said, “Jihadism is an international idea. Many people are infected with this virus.”
The elder brother was killed in an overnight shoot-out in Boston. The other remains the target of an all-out manhunt.
Addicott said after years of warring with Russia, many Chechen separatist rebels joined in fighting the U.S. both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“They have joined the jihad in large numbers around the globe,” Addicott said.
However, Solomon Hamideh, president of the Islamic Center of San Antonio, said he warns against judging all Muslims.
“When the Muslim name comes up, it’s associated with terrorism and that’s wrong,” Hamideh said. “It hurts but we’re proud to be Muslims because our religion teaches we do not hurt people.”
Hamideh said he even prayed the day of the bombings that Muslims were not involved because of the possible backlash.
He said only someone who has “the devil in their mind” would carry out such violence against innocent people.
Addicott said he urges the Muslim community to make their voices heard.
Referring to the bombing suspects, Addicott said, “We all realize that these are an aberration. They’re out of the norm.”