letters | Trying to get to the heart of Tsarnaevs’ motivations

Cambridge mosque unfairly cast in negative light

I read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s op-ed about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with great disappointment and concern. While the questions Hirsi Ali raises are important, her opinion piece makes a profoundly misleading statement.

She suggests that the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge is host to what she terms “Medina Muslims,” or Muslim extremists with a propensity for terror. Yet the Islamic Society of Boston has repeatedly clarified that there is no connection between the extremists Hirsi Ali names and the ISB. And in the case of the Tsarnaev brothers, the older of whom is known to have sporadically attended the ISB, to make this link is akin to saying that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, or Eric Rudolph, the Atlanta Olympic Park bomber, is connected to a church he merely visited and that therefore we should be wary of all American Christians.


The ISB is an American Muslim institution, well respected in Cambridge, contributing positively to the community at large.

The Rev. Daniel Smith
Senior minister
First Church in Cambridge

The writer is vice president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.