The Question of Divided Identity

Monday, April 22, 2013

As an American citizen, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev will be tried in a civilian court. But the Obama administration has made the decision to delay reading him his Miranda Rights, citing a public safety exemption to allow law enforcement officials to first ask him questions relating to any other terrorist or violent attack that could compromise the safety of the public.

Meanwhile, several Republican senators are already calling for Tsarnaev to be classified as an enemy combatant, a classification that would strip him of many of his legal protections. Stephen Vladeck, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Scholarship at American University Washington College of Law, discusses the questions surrounding Tsarnaev's due process.  

One week after the tragedy in Boston and several days after the manhunt that resulted in the capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev and the death of his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, questions have turned to motive. Americans are mystified: what would inspire two young men who went to school in the United States and who were part of the community to commit such heinous acts?

Akbar Ahmed is the Chairman of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington and author of "The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terrorism Became a War on Tribal Islam." He describes men caught between two worlds. Though they never lived in Chechnya, their story may be one of a struggle to balance national identity and the ideologies of their Chechen roots with their identity here in the United States



Akbar Ahmed and Stephen Vladeck

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [4]

Ed from Larchmont

These two men were not delusional or mentally ill or sociopaths or psychopaths: they were heretics, they believed in an absolute truth that is not correct, and any such truth leads to disaster since people act on it. It's like the Nazis, they weren't crazy, they were just wrong about what was true.

Apr. 23 2013 05:59 AM
CK from Yorktown

This is just a load of BS. More excuses for bad behavior. He seems to make a case to stop any immigrants from parts of the world that have violence. They're coming from a "background of ravage and rape" to a nice place that allows them free eduation, safe harbor so they want to blow us up? Too many excuses.

Apr. 22 2013 03:11 PM
Antoinette Zographos from Worcester, MA

In reading your intro about the brothers and your discussion with Ahmed, it is a far cry from the actual conversation I heard. #1, neither brother was born in Chechysa. They were born in Dagestan. As for they being caufght in two different worlds, the professor told a pile of crock because the boys have been living year for a decade or so and part of the American social fabric. Why the older brother changed, yes, it is a mystery. Maybe it does have something to do with his 6 1/2 month Russian visit that included going to Chechnya with his father though he mostly stayed in Dagestan.

Also, please, in making any future remarks about the surviving brother stop calling him Chechnyan. He is an American citizen of chechnyan descent.

Apr. 22 2013 01:47 PM

Americans are mystified?
No, the partisan and feckless media and the politicians they support feign mystification.
Apparently some have learned nothing about an extreme ideology targeting this nation since 9/11.
Projecting the cluelessness and political agenda of the media on the public is rather insulting.

Both guests caution against emotion which is
exactly what the President and the media exploited
for political purposes with Newtown and Tucson.

Apr. 22 2013 09:21 AM

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