Aunt says US suspect recently became devout Muslim

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect wanted in Boston Marathon bombings. (AP Photo)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspect wanted in Boston Marathon bombings. (AP Photo)

TORONTO (AP) — An aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Friday the older brother recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, and she doesn’t believe the brothers could have been involved in Monday’s attack.

“We’re talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that … I don’t know them in the way that they could be capable of this,” Maret Tsarnaeva told reporters in Toronto.

She said her brother Anzor Tsarnaev had high expectations for his sons, especially 26-year-old Tamerlan.

She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan dropped out of his university. She said he always demanded more of his children and said Tamerlan was his favorite.

Tamerlan married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the U.S., she said.

“He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion,” she said.

But she said Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it’s not easy.”

Tamerlan wasn’t a devout practicing Muslim, “but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day,” she said.

Tamerlan was killed Thursday night during a shootout with police, and a huge manhunt was under way in the Boston area for his brother.

Tsarnaeva called both boys smart and athletic, and she wants proof they are involved in the deadly bombing.

“Within the family, everything was perfect,” she said.

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