Tamerlan Tsarnaev didn't agree with every "Misha" on Islam

An undated photo of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

In the aftermath of the death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, his family has spoken of a man by the name of "Misha" who may have influenced Tsarnaev into becoming radicalized.

It is unclear who or where this Misha is, but there is one Misha that Tsarnaev did not appear to be a fan of.

Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with the Boston authorities Friday, commented two months ago on a YouTube video uploaded on February 13, 2013, entitled: "Mikael: How I converted to Islam and became a Shiite."

On his YouTube channel, Tsarnaev directs comments to "Misha", and appears angry with the latter's recent conversion to Shiism.

Tamerlan writes, "You're not Mikael anymore, but you're back to being Misha, as you were before Islam. You converted to Shiism not because you truly believe in it, but because of your own whims and interests (only Allah knows what they truly are). As you entered Islam, you have exited it. [With the same ease]. You have betrayed yourself, Misha. Whatever, goodbye."

There is no proof that the person in the particular YouTube video, above, is this Misha.

Mikael is the full-name of the Russian nickname Misha, which in turn is the name of the mysterious figure Tsarnaev apparently mentioned as a religious influence to people close to him.

There are varying reports that Tamerlan met Misha either in Russia or in the U.S.; Misha is an extremely common Russian nickname.

Tsarnaev went to Russia for six months in January 2012, leaving his wife and daughter in the States.

He returned to the U.S. on July 17, 2012, and created his YouTube channel a month later, which he called "Islam." He posted mostly religious videos.

Two months before the attacks at the Boston Marathon, he joined a page called "Allah is the One."

This is also around the time that he made these comments on Misha's video.

In the uploaded video, Misha is being interviewed in Russian by another man who remains unnamed throughout the 18-minute interview.

They speak about Misha's conversion to Islam eight years ago, and his further conversion to Shiism, less than six months ago.

Misha says that he converted to Islam after he moved to Pyatigorsk, a city which borders Chechnya, and then to Shiite Islam in 2012.

He says "only in my opinion" does he agree more with the Shi'a interpretation of Islam versus the Sunni one, but he seems to remain objective when comparing both sects.

He compares different texts of the Koran, as well as different religious schools in the geographical area.

He speaks of Shiism, saying, "don't allow flawed individuals to prevent others from adopting this school of Islam."

He is asked by the interviewer if he has any advice to a future Shi'a convert, to which he replies, focus on the teachings of Shiism and not the people who practice it, as some make mistakes.

"Muslims are not ideal, Islam is ideal," he says.

The majority of Muslims in Russia are Sunnis. Only approximately 5 percent are Shi'a Muslims.

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    Jessica Hartogs is a news editor for You can find her on Twitter: @jessicahartogs