Russian, Muslim community leaders condemn Boston bombers

By Matt Porter

April 19, 2013 Updated Apr 22, 2013 at 10:37 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) CBS news reports detail the two brothers suspected ofMonday's deadly bombings in Boston, Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, lived for at least a short time, in a region of Russia known as Chechnya.

CBS reports it's believed the family of the brothers are ethnic Chechens.

Chechnya's history includes a civil war with Russia, with some Chechens continuing to engage in violent terrorist acts in Russia.

In Binghamton, Rev. Ilya Gotlinsky, of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church, said the history of violence between Russia and Chechnya spans more than 20 years.

He said he's sad to see the violence possibly crossing the Atlantic into the United States.

"Today it's a war right in our backyard," Gotlinsky said, "But it's not to say it's a war that's been going on in a part of the world for years."

Gotlinsky pointed out that Chechens are not ethnically Russians.

He said perhaps the attention can bring awareness to an issue not often discussed in the United States.

He added the attacks of the bombers do not represent the majority of Chechens or Russians.

"It's a teachable moment for people of goodwill to stick together and show that villains are a minority," Gotlinsky said.

His church has been a fixture in Binghamton celebrating its 100th year in 2015.

Gotlinsky said he doesn't anticipate backlash, and that his community stands with the victims.

"There is no way to counter ignorance and fear of people except by kindness," he said.

While the motives of the brothers are unknown in Chechnya, Islamic fundamentalism has led to violence across the world.

Arshad Fasih, vice-president of the Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier, said any terrorist act in the name of Islam is a perversion of the faith.

"Our beliefs don't coincide," Fasih said. "This action is totally un-Islamic, there is no doubt about that. It doesn't represent Islam. Islam actually prohibits that."

The community of more than 500 Muslims say they stand with Boston.

"We sympathize with the victims, their families," Fasih said. "It's a horrible, horrible event."

The Islamic Organization of the Southern Tier issued a statement Wednesday to the community condemning the attacks in Boston.

The organization is collecting donations for the Boston Marathon relief efforts in conjunction with other local aid groups.

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