“Nobody is without sin,” she said. “Certainly this was a horrific act, but he’s dead and what happened is between him and God. We just need to bury his body and move forward. People were making an issue and detracting from the healing that needed to take place.”
There was little talk of healing among Caroline County officials and the cemetery’s neighbors, however, and even some members of the area’s Islamic community were incensed that they were not consulted about the burial in advance.
Imam Ammar Amonette, of the Islamic Center of Virginia, said that his group was never consulted and that Mullen had reached out to a separate group, the Islamic Society of Greater Richmond.
“The whole Muslim community here is furious. Frankly, we are furious that we were never given any information. It was all done secretly behind our backs,” Amonette said, adding that it “makes no sense whatsoever” that Tsarnaev’s body was buried in Virginia.
“Now everybody who’s buried in that cemetery, their loved ones are going to have to go to that place,” he said.
The Islamic Society of Greater Richmond didn’t respond to an email seeking confirmation that it was involved in the burial.
Some readers responding to online reports about the burial and Mullen’s role were supportive, others sharply critical.
Jaquese Goodall, who lives less than a quarter-mile from the cemetery, was unhappy that Tsarnaev was buried there.
“If they didn’t want him in Boston, why did they bring him all the way down here against our wishes?” said Goodall, 21. “I am worried because his people may come down here to visit and there will be a whole lot of problems from him being here.”
Caroline County Sheriff Tony Lippa was concerned, too, that the grave site could become a target for vandals and a shrine for those who sympathize with Tsarnaev.