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OPINION - Tamerlan Tsarnaev's faith and gratitude

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)   He’s 26-years old. In his own words in his Facebook postings, he’s a devout Muslim. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a strange way of practicing his faith.

He brags about how his wife, a part-Portuguese part-Italian, converted to Islam. She does not wear the hijab; nor did she take her husband’s name. For a devout muslin – those are deal-breakers.

He stayed at home with his daughter and attended school, while his wife was the family breadwinner. Unheard of – a Muslim man living off his wife’s labor.

He was thrown out of his mosque for shouting down other members. Yet he would be expected to show deference to his imam and his elders.

Of course, there are many people who don’t follow all of the tenants of their religion. I have not been perfect in the practice of my faith -- far from it; someone could hold me up to similar criticism. But Tamerlan Tsarnaev is ready blow people up because they don’t follow the teachings of his faith. His own writings scold Americans for drinking and smoking. Over-sexed American girls might get ideas if he takes off his shirt during his boxing workouts. For himself, he makes exceptions to the practice of his religion. But to us, the decadent infidels, there is no quarter.

I’m also taken aback at how generous America has been to Tamerlan and his brother. By classifying them as economic refugees his family went to the front of the line for permanent-resident visas. He and his brother were allowed into a prestigious private high school where they get an elite education. He drives a sports car. He’s attending medical school on a scholarship. Tamerlan even left the country for six months, traveling to a lawless hotbed of anti-American radicalism, and we allow him back into the country. (Under U.S. immigration law a permanent visa is supposed to be withdrawn when someone is out of the county for six months. Someone erred by letting him return without a re-vetting.)

Within a few miles of where the Tsarnaev brothers lived there are second and third-generation Boston-Irish. Their ancestors were greeted with signs that told them “Help wanted - Dogs and Irish need not apply.” Consider how much more welcoming the United States has been to the Tsarnaev family. And consider how we’ve been repaid.

Chris Conley