“’Do you believe the United States government acts unfairly towards Muslims in this country or in other parts of the world?’ asks No. 60. ‘Do you believe the ‘war on terror’ unfairly targets Muslims?’ reads No. 61. ‘Do you believe the ‘war on terror’ is overblown or exaggerated?’ asks No. 62.” Apparently if you answer “Yes” to all three of these questions, the defense wants you on the Tsarnaev jury.
“Tsarnaev Jury Questionnaire Dug Into Siblings, Islamophobia,” by Eric Levenson, Boston Globe, March 18, 2015:
Among the 101 questions that potential jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial were asked are queries on sibling relationships, feelings toward Islam, and social media proficiency.
Those 101 questions, released to the public on Wednesday, are decided upon ahead of time by both the defense and prosecutors. As such, they provide hints as to the main thrusts of the arguments made by both sides.
About 1,350 prospective jurors filled out the 28-page questionnaire. The judge, prosecution, and defense teams then used those answers to eliminate most jurors from the pool. Of those that passed that first round, dozens were called back in for further questioning in person. The final pool of 18 jurors was chosen after another round of eliminations.
Let’s run down each of those categories within the jury questionnaire and compare it to the line of arguments in the trial so far.
“Have any of your siblings tried to influence your direction in life or your major life decisions?” asks jury question No. 17. “Do you feel that any of your siblings has had a major positive or negative influence on you?” reads No. 19. “Do you believe most teenagers are easily influenced by older siblings?” asks No. 20.
Tsarnaev’s defense team has argued that Dzhokhar was under the thumb of his older brother Tamerlan, who they say was the mastermind of the bombings.
‘‘The evidence will not establish and we will not argue that Tamerlan put a gun to Dzhokhar’s head or that he forced him to join in the plan,’’ defense attorney Judith Clarke said in opening statements, ‘‘but you will hear evidence about the kind of influence that this older brother had.’’
Feelings toward Islam:
“Do you believe the United States government acts unfairly towards Muslims in this country or in other parts of the world?” asks No. 60. “Do you believe the ‘war on terror’ unfairly targets Muslims?” reads No. 61. “Do you believe the ‘war on terror’ is overblown or exaggerated?” asks No. 62.
That focus on Islam has come up repeatedly so far in the trial. Prosecutor William Weinreb argued that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev acted out of a belief that “he was a soldier in a holy war against Americans.” There was also the message Tsarnaev wrote while inside the boat where he was ultimately captured.
“We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all,” the message reads.
In addition, FBI agent Steve Kimball testified that Tsarnaev ran a Twitter account @Al_firdausiA, which tweeted Islamic-focused messages. Finally, jurors were shown a photo of Tsarnaev in front of a Black Standard flag, a symbol of Islam that has in recent years been associated with jihadis….