[UPDATE on May 9, 2013: He has finally been buried in an undisclosed location, bringing this shameful chapter to a close.]
In an odd sequel to the Boston bombing, the family of Tamerlan Tsarnaev wants him to be buried according to Muslim custom but it turns out that cemeteries are refusing to allow the body to be buried in their plots. The funeral director Peter Stefan has tried four cemeteries in three different states and has been rejected by all of them. His family wants him to be buried in Massachusetts, where he lived the last decade.
Criminals, even famous ones like Lee Harvey Oswald, are buried all the time with little fanfare so it is not clear why this particular case is arousing such opposition. If nobody claims the body, as was the case with Ted Bundy and Timothy McVeigh, they are cremated and their remains scattered. But that option is not available here since apparently Islam forbids cremation. Stefan takes the view that a body is a body and that he has his duty to bury the dead the same way that it is a doctor’s duty to treat the sick and the injured. He says that he might have to go to the federal authorities for help in finding a burial plot.
This denial of burial is carrying symbolic vindictiveness to an absurd level. Dead bodies have to be disposed of somehow. We would be appalled (I hope) if a doctor refused to treat the injured Dzhorkar Tsarnaev in hospital so why is it so hard to accept that his brother’s body needs to be buried somewhere?