His family came from an area in Russia where Muslim groups have been fighting with Russians for hundreds of years. His nation of Chechnya was brutally crushed by Russian forces and his family fled to one place after another in Asia and the Caucasas. In one sense, this boy was connected to Russia, and in another sense they were his sworn enemies. He was a Muslim, he arrived in the United States hoping to create a new life far away from the violence of his youth. Dzhokhar quickly integrated himself into the American world ranging from wrestling to music to pop culture. He had friends at high school and in college. Those who m et him regarded the boy as one who was becoming an American in dress and thought.
Somewhere along the path of his young life other voices began to echo in his head. They preached about hate and violence. Some blame his brother, some his mother, some the mysterious “Misha,” an Armenian convert to Islam. We can speculate, but until this boy speaks we really do not know what happened. It is a story of change and a story of hatred consuming a human heart.