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In considering case of the Tsarnaevs, who could dare blame victims?

You report that Martha Mullen, instrumental in finding a burial place for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “wonders . . . whether greater tolerance in the United States toward Muslims would have made a difference in curbing [the Tsarnaevs’] apparent radicalization” (“Va. woman’s help led to burial site,” Page A5, May 11).

Let us look at what we know about how the Tsarnaevs were treated in the United States and in Massachusetts. They were welcomed into the country as permanent residents. The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services confirmed that the parents of the brothers received transitional assistance and other welfare benefits. Tamerlan was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter, until 2012. At the time of the bombings, the surviving brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was attending UMass Dartmouth, despite an outstanding bill of more than $20,000.

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No evidence has been presented that the Tsarnaevs were the objects of anti-Muslim discrimination.

So why does Mullen, a mental health counselor to victims of trauma, blame the victims? The victims who died, or lost limbs, or suffered life-altering trauma represented those who welcomed and generously supported the Tsarnaev family.

What did we do that in any way could justify the horrors that the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of perpetrating?

Mullen needs to reexamine her understanding of who the true victims of this tragedy are.

Claire Callahan


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