Via Animal New York

Via Animal New York

Who is “Misha”?

Relatives of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsnarnaev describe “a Muslim convert who steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam” that may have fed his extremism. “Somehow, he just took his brain,” Tamerlan’s uncle told the AP about the man they only knew as Misha.

The elder mentor training a young acolyte is a classic template. Sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. Discuss.

The other story line investigators are piecing together is one of self-taught extremists: “angry and alienated young men,” as the New York Times puts it, “apparently self-trained and unaffiliated with any particular terrorist group, able to use the Internet to learn their lethal craft.” The dark digital version of “Sheilaism”?

Read: Ken Ballen at CNN on “the appeal of Islamic radicalism.”

Read: Our own Tom Ehrich who points to social isolation.

Leaders of a Boston mosque say Tamerlan Tsarnaev was told he would not be welcome if he continued disrupting services.

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley has received much praise for his homily at a mass for the repose of the souls of those killed in the Marathon bombing, in which he decried the many elements that make up the “culture of death.” But Phil Lawler of Catholic World News says the “wheels came off” when the cardinal cited the failure of an assault weapons ban as one of those elements.

Juan Cole goes provocative and rounds up the violent death tallies attributable to different faiths and finds Muslims doing pretty well by comparison with Christians.

The Boy Scouts tried a compromise on allowing gays and wound up getting flack from religious leaders on both sides.

The legalization of same-sex marriage continues to roll on, and Mark Silk says efforts by social conservatives to point the finger of blame at the acceptance of no-fault divorce won’t wash.

The judge in the murder trial of rogue abortionist Kermit Gosnell threw out three of the seven charges against Gosnell, which may not make him much less repulsive than he had been before.

Remember Benedict XVI? He’s very happy not to be pope any more, his brother tells the Daily Telegraph. Otherwise, he’s doing okay.

This will also come as a relief: If a British royal does something as outlandish as marrying a Catholic, he or she won’t have to raise the kid as a papist.

In other religious news from the Sceptered Isle, the Ordo Templi Orientis, known as OTO, is the latest cult to attract boldface names, like Peaches Geldof.

Frankly, I prefer that old time religion – like the Virgin Mary who in her later years take consolation in pagan idols and says her son’s sacrifice wasn’t worth it. Oh, wait, that’s Colm Toibin’s new play, “The Testament of Mary,” and our own Charles Austin has a review.

All right then, how about Jesus as the original hipster? That’s what the Diocese of Brooklyn is selling. “The point is rather that he was incredibly cool, though not seen by many as such, and certainly misunderstood in his time,” says AdWeek.

The problem, they note, is there is no record that he ever actually turned water into PBR.

(Photo via Animal New York, because of course the Brooklyn diocese didn’t post the popular image on its own website.)

A thought and prayer for Bob Edgar, the Democratic congressman and United Methodist minister who went on to lead the National Council of Churches. He died suddenly yesterday at age 69.

Our job can be a lot of things, from moving to maddening, enlightening to entertaining — especially doing the Roundup. But apparently being a newspaper reporter now ranks as the worst job of 2013, according to the annual Career Cast survey. Yes, we beat out lumberjack and soldier.

But we’ll stick with it as long as we can, and we hope you stick with us. You can help by signing up for the daily religion news roundup in the box below – it’s easy, and free.

David Gibson


Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. Who is Misha?

    An FBI or CIA recruiter/baiter?

    A Russian agent determined to get Chechnyans to cause an atrocity in the US so that the CIA would stop aiding Chechnyan and other Caucasus independence movements?

    An independent know-it-all nut and ignoramus?

    Misha taught the older brother to think of the Bible as a “cheap imitation” of the Koran. According to mainstream Islam the Koran is eternal, written before the creation of the world. Other holy books are lesser versions of the Koran and therefore share in the Koran’s holiness. They are lesser but not “cheap.” Misha’s supposed to be a red-bearded Armenian convert, which could be a Russian cover. Or a CIA cover.

    We may never know.

  2. Newspaper reporter worst job? I can think of many more repulsive and dirty jobs other than reporter. In fact, I hold most reporters in high regard, except, of course, any that work for Fox. But, then again, they’re not really reporters they are more like propangadist’s. Hey, get Alex Jones right on the story of the mentor guy, he’ll get to the bottom of it quickly and make lots more money selling another conspiracy theory.. With that, I’ll say-so long!

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