Colorado Muslim Society denies report it will bury Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev

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More photos below.
Last month's shocking bombing at the Boston Marathon was followed by a manhunt that ended with the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar's older brother and the presumed mastermind of an attack that killed three and injured hundreds. Since then, controversy has arisen over the question of where the elder Tsarnaev will be buried -- and yesterday, reports inaccurately implied that he would be coming here under the auspices of the Colorado Muslim Society, which is still dealing with fallout from the situation.

The issue flared up after an article in the Denver Post quoting Colorado-based cleric Sheikh Abu-Omar Almubarac as saying he would "pay for a traditional Muslim burial -- no headstone, monument or casket -- at a plot at a Muslim cemetery in Denver or Bennett." The piece added that "Almubarac incorporated the Colorado Muslim Society in the late 1960s."

Turns out there's much more to Almubarac than this factoid. A good portrait of him was posted in 2010 on the blogspot 30 Mosques 30 Days. Here's a screen capture from the profile:

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Author Aman Ali, who spells the Sheikh's name "Abu Omar Al-Mubarac," describes him as "a pioneer of the Muslim community in Denver and...still an active volunteer here. He grew up in Iraq and escaped the country in the 1960s when the Baath Party, Saddam Hussein's ruling group, wanted him dead because he refused to side with them. He's been living in the Denver area since 1968."

The photo-filled article focuses on Almubarac's upbeat nature and sense of humor. For instance, he says he settled in the Denver area because "the weather here is like a woman. She never knows how to make up her mind." There's also this intriguing passage:

For an 80-year-old man that's seen so much in his life, I asked him where he gets his optimism from. He points to the rectangle rug that's in front of the couch.

"See this? It's about the size of a grave," he said. "Whenever my head gets big, I think about my grave. Because when I die, no matter what I have in life, I can't take my possessions to the grave with me."

The interest in Tamerlan Tsarnaev's grave immediately thrust Almubarac into the national spotlight, as witnessed by "Colorado cleric offers to bury Boston suspect's body in a Muslim cemetery -- but with NO headstone," a lengthy article in the U.K. Daily Mail. But early on, articles made little distinction between Almubarac and the Colorado Muslim Society.

Examples? The original item on the Post website has been overwritten, but an AP brief remains online at this writing. The latter has been updated, too; it now notes that Almubarac "made his offer independently of the organization," meaning the Colorado Muslim Society. But the qualifier doesn't appear in many versions of the story that have circulated around the globe on the AP wire, including this article on the CBS Boston site.

As such, members of the Colorado Muslim Society suddenly were drawn into a national debate, with leaders immediately taking action to distance the organization from the burial offer.

Continue for more about the Colorado Muslim Society and the inaccurate association with Tamerlan Tsarnaev.


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