(CNN) — There may not be a single cemetery in Massachusetts or in the entire country that is willing to be Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s final resting place, a funeral director told CNN on Monday.
And that has left Peter Stefan in a very difficult spot.
“I think (the cemeteries that have been asked) probably fear reprisals from people who have loved ones being buried there, people who may potentially buy lots there,” the funeral director said.
Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, are accused of setting off two deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon in April.
The funeral director says he is trying to do everything he can, but he’s struggling.
“I think a lot of the people don’t understand,” Stefan said. “And it’s an emotional problem, obviously.”
But, “We have to bury this guy,” he continued. “Whoever he is, in this country, we bury people.”
Meanwhile on Monday, a law enforcement official who spoke to CNN said that investigators believe that Tsarnaev accessed Inspire magazine — an English-language magazine published by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — on a computer in the apartment where he and his wife lived.
The Inspire material had instructions on bomb-making, the official said. Asked whether the computer belonged to the husband, his wife, or whether it was shared, the official said only that investigators believe the husband was accessing that material.
What are the options?
It may be possible to look to the past for guidance on how to handle the remains of notorious figures.
Five new things in Boston bombing story
President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is buried in the Dallas area, where he lived before shooting Kennedy in 1963. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s ashes were scattered after his execution, though where is a mystery. The body of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, lies in an unmarked grave in a Baltimore cemetery where other members of his family are buried.
Cremation is not an option because Islam does not allow it, according to Naeem Baig of the Islamic Circle of North America. However, it would not violate Islamic tradition to bury Tsarnaev in an unmarked grave, which may reduce the odds that a cemetery would suffer a backlash for providing space.
In fact, it’s customary for Muslims to forgo gravestones, according to John Esposito, a professor of international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University.
“That burial could be carried out by simply saying he was buried in a cemetery and burying him without a marker,” Esposito said.
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