已經在與警方駁火中喪命的 26 歲波士頓馬拉松炸彈客 Tamerlan Tsarnaev，遺下妻子 Katherine Russell 和三歲女兒。
據傳媒報導，Katherine Russell 出生於羅得島州一個醫生家庭，是一位典型的新英格蘭女孩，但自從與 Tamerlan Tsarnaev 相識後便發生巨大變化，最終放棄學業，皈信伊斯蘭教，並與 Tamerlan Tsarnaev 結婚，且在婚後承擔了為養家活口賺錢的主要責任。
她的一些朋友感到十分困惑，推測是否受到丈夫的控制和洗腦。但根據 NBC News 的記者採訪幾位同樣皈信伊斯蘭教的美國婦女後所作的報導(見附文2)，似乎強制洗腦之說並不成立。有研究宗教關係的學者指出，人們固然會出於婚戀或浪漫情感而改變信仰，但主要還是出於知識(intellectual)上和靈性(spiritual)上的原因才會發生激進性的轉變。
How an 'All-American' girl met and married Tamerlan Tsarnaev
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Apr. 22 2013, 10:42 AM EDT;
Last updated Monday, Apr. 22 2013, 1:57 PM EDT
Katherine Russell was a young college student when friends introduced her to a young man named Tamerlan Tsarnaev at a Boston nightclub. They had, according to the woman's lawyer, a normal courtship – dating on and off before marrying in 2009 or 2010 and settling at Mr. Tsarnaev's family home in Cambridge, Massachussets.
Their home life appeared normal too, if only a bit unconventional, Ms. Russell's lawyer Amato DeLuca said, with Ms. Russell working 70 to 80 hours a week as a home health-care aide while Mr. Tsarnaev, a former boxer and college dropout, stayed at home caring for their toddler daughter.
In fact, there was no indication that anything was amiss until earlier this week, Mr. DeLuca said, when Ms. Russell turned on the television to learn that her 26-year-old husband, along with his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar, were suspected of planting explosives near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring over 170.
Tamerlan was killed after a police shootout early Friday, and Dzhokhar remains hospitalized after he was arrested the same day.
"When this allegedly was going on, she was working, and had been working all week to support her family," Mr. DeLuca said.
Federal authorities have since asked to speak with Ms. Russell, who, according to Mr. DeLuca, had no idea of any alleged terror plans.
Friends who knew Ms. Russell growing up are struggling to piece together how the "all-American girl" raised by a Christian doctor and nurse in Rhode Island somehow found herself tangled up with an alleged terrorist.
As a high school student, Ms. Russell was known to her friends as "Katie," and dreamed of joining the Peace Corps, a friend told The Daily Mail.
High school yearbook photos show a smiling Ms. Russell with her long dark hair flowing and dressed in trendy clothing. Another yearbook image shows her grinning as one of dozens of members of the school's dance team.
But some time after meeting Mr. Tsarnaev, friends told The Daily Mail Ms. Russell converted to Islam and stopped attending college.
"She was just this All-American girl who was brainwashed by her super-religious husband," a friend is quoted as saying.
"Her parents are nice people, her sisters are great girls. But she met this guy, I guess, and everything changed," a former classmate said.
Neighbours of Ms. Russell's parents in Rhode Island told reporters that recently, they'd begun to see the young woman dressed in loose, flowing Muslim garb and a hijab covering her dark hair.
Another neighbour told the New York Daily News that she would see Mr. Tsarnaev at the parents' home occasionally, but that she didn't notice anything unusual about him. "Everything looked very peaceful," she said of the family.
Early Friday, Ms. Russell's parents released a statement to reporters saying they were "sickened" by the news that Mr. Tsarnaev may have been involved in the bombings.
"Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child," the statement read. "We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred, in the aftermath of the Patriots' Day horror we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev."
Not 'brainwashed': American women who converted to Islam speak out
Updated: Fri, 26 Apr 2013 09:08:10 GMT
By JoNel Aleccia, Senior Writer, NBC News
When an American convert to Islam was revealed as the wife of the dead Boston bombing suspect, Lauren Schreiber wasn't surprised at what came next.
Comments from former acquaintances and complete strangers immediately suggested that 24-year-old Katherine Russell, a New England doctor's daughter, must have been coerced and controlled by her husband, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died last week in a firefight with police.
"She was a very sweet woman, but I think kind of brainwashed by him," reported the Associated Press, quoting Anne Kilzer, a Belmont, Mass., woman who said she knew Russell and her 3-year-old daughter.
That kind of assumption isn't new to Schreiber, 26, a Greenbelt, Md., woman who became a Muslim in 2010.
"The moment you put on a hijab, people assume that you've forfeited your free will," says Schreiber, who favors traditional Islamic dress.
The Boston terror attack and the questions about whether Russell knew about her husband's deadly plans have renewed stereotypes and misconceptions that U.S. women who have chosen that faith say they want to dispel.
"It's not because somebody made me do this," explains Schreiber, who converted after a college study-abroad trip to West Africa. "It's what I choose to do and I'm happy."
Her view is echoed by Rebecca Minor, 28, of West Hartford, Conn., a special education teacher who converted to Islam five years ago. When her students, ages 5 to 8, ask why she wears a headscarf, she always says the same thing: "It's something that's important to me and it reminds me to be a good person," says Minor, who is secretary for the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut.
Muslims make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, according to studies by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In 2011, about 1.8 million U.S. adults were Muslim, and about 20 percent had converted to the faith, Pew researchers say. Of those converts, about 54 percent were men and 46 percent were women. About 1 in 5 converts mentioned family factors, including marrying a Muslim, as a reason for adopting the faith.
Accusations are 'harsh'
Women convert for a wide range of reasons -- spiritual, intellectual and romantic -- says Yvonne Haddad, a professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at Georgetown University.
"Islam is attractive to women that the feminist movement left behind," says Haddad, who co-authored a 2006 book, "Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today."
Women like Lindsey Faraj, 26, of Charlotte, N.C., say that wearing a headscarf and other traditional Islamic garb in public often leads people to assume she sacrificed her American life to please a man.
"'You must have converted in order to marry him,' I hear it all the time," says Faraj, who actually converted simultaneously with her husband, Wathek Faraj, who is from Damascus, about four years ago.
She's also heard people say that her husband is allowed to beat her, that she's not free to get a divorce, that she and her two children, ages 4 months and 2, are subservient to the man. Such concepts are untrue, of course, she says.
"In the beginning, it did offend me a lot," says Faraj, who grew up in a Christian family in Florida. "But now as my sense of my new self has grown, I don't feel offended."
She's able to joke, for instance, about the woman who screamed insults from a passing car.
"They screamed: 'Go back to your own country' and I thought, 'It doesn't get more white than this, girl,'" says Faraj, indicating her fair features.
Like all stereotypes, such views are steeped in fear, says Haddad.
"Accusations of brainwashing are harsh," she says. "They cover up the fact that we don't comprehend why people like 'us' want to change and be like 'them.'"
All three women say they came to Islam after much thought and spiritual searching.
Islam 'entered my heart'
Schreiber, who is a community outreach and events coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says she was drawn to the religion after meeting other Muslims on her trip abroad before graduating from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2009.
She grew up in an agnostic family where she was encouraged to discover her own faith.
"It was, whatever you decide to do -- temple, church, mosque -- I support you finding yourself," says Schreiber. She's now married to a Muslim man, Muhammad Oda, 27, whose parents were both converts to Islam. She said came to the faith before the relationship.
Faraj, a stay-at-home mom, says she never saw herself "as a religious person, in the least," but became enthralled after trying to learn more about Islam before a visit to see her husband's family.
"The concept of Islam hit me," Faraj recalls. "It was just something that entered my heart."
Minor, who is single, says she was intrigued by Islam in college, when she was close friends with a deployed American Marine but had Muslim friends at school.
"I saw a huge discrepancy in the negative things I heard coming from my (friend) and the actions I could see in my co-workers," she recalls. After spending 18 months learning about Islam, she decided to convert.
The response from family and friends has been overwhelmingly supportive, Minor says.
"The more you can do to educate people about Islam, not by preaching, but by actions, the better," she says.
Reports that Katherine Russell might have been embroiled in an abusive relationship, or that her husband intimidated her aren't an indictment of Islam, Haddad says.
"Abusive men come in all colors, nationalities, ethnicities and from all religions," she says. "No one says that Christianity teaches abuse of women because some Christian men are abusive."
Schreiber says she frequently gets comments from people surprised to see her fair skin and hear her American accent from beneath a scarf. She says she appreciates it when people actually ask questions instead of making assumptions.
"I just want people to know that there are American Muslim women who wear hijab by choice because they believe in it and it feels right to them, not because anyone tells them to."
Family of slain bombing suspect's widow: 'Our hearts are sickened'