Emory Professor: Internet may have radicalized Boston bombers - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Emory Professor: Internet may have radicalized Boston bombers

DECATUR, GA (CBS46) -

Since the first bombs went off at 2:50 p.m. at the Boston Marathon on Monday, two men, whose identities we now know, have been the most hunted men in America. But why did they do it?

One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, is dead.  His brother Dzhokar, 19, is still at large.  By all accounts the men were Americanized after immigrating to the United States from the Russian region of Dagestan, close to Chechnya.  But how and why they turned into radical Muslim extremists wanting to inflict harm on Americansare still unanswered questions.

What Russian history professor Matt Payne thinks is that the brothers used the internet to shape and distort their views of America.

"If you are seeing images on the news, or on internet sites of perhaps Muslim civilians dying… that might get you in the mindset that Americans aren't fighting terrorists, they are fighting Muslims," Payne said. "And as a Muslim, I should do something about that."

Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, dismissed any links between the brothers and Chechnya.

"Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs - if they are guilty - is futile. They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there," he said in a statement Friday.

At this point, there is no direct link between the Tsarnaev brothers and Chechen separatists.

But there is a history of violence in the region that Payne said can't be overlooked.

"The cultural background of Chechens is to fight and fight to the death," Payne said.  "It would be quite valuable if he turned himself in, because we would understand if he had any connections to the outside world.  Was anybody sort of directing these acts?"

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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