Shaun Kenney’s remarks stir controversy

A bit of a controversy is swirling in Fluvanna County over comments posted on the Internet by Shaun Kenney about the dead Boston Marathon bomber.

Posting on a friend’s Facebook page on Friday, Kenney, the chairman of the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors, reacted to a recent news story by Boston.com detailing how the bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, is buried in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell near Richmond.

Kenney wrote: “Did Virginia just open a new rest stop? Somehow I get the sense that I will feel..um..relieved after visiting that grave site.”

A few minutes later Kenney posted: “Doswell is about to have a very poorly contained feral hog problem. did I mention dogs.”

William F. Sullivan, a member of Focus on Fluvanna’s Future, posted Kenney’s comments on the FoFF’s  Facebook page and sent copies to the Fluvanna Review.

Sullivan said in an email that, “I want to make it crystal clear that what took place in Boston was devastating and those responsible should be punished by the full extent of the law. The attack affected me personally as I called Boston home until 2005 when we moved to Fluvanna and I have family and many friends still living there (many who were at the finish line and some even running in the marathon).”

“That being said, I find our Chairman of the Fluvanna BOS' (Kenney) comments deplorable,” Sullivan said. “To come out and encourage individuals to desecrate on any individual's grave (no matter what they have done) and to make it even more personal by behavior that encourages a direct attack on one's religion is not only immoral, but unacceptable coming from an elected government official.”

Kenney, in response to a Fluvanna Review request for a comment, was unapologetic. He said  in an email to the newspaper  that “my own thoughts mirror that of Imam Amonette.” Amonette is the leader of one of the largest Islamic congregations in Central Virginia who said he was upset when he learned Boston terror suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was buried in a local Muslim cemetery. Amonette said that was because Tsarnaev had no connection to Central Virginia.

“The Islamic Center of Virginia is 100% correct.  Instead of crying for Tsarnaev, we should be showing solidarity with the Muslim families who now have the memories of their loved ones linked to the actions of a terrorist -- that's the worst form of desecration in my mind,” Kenney said.

“Keep this in mind as well.  Those two purposefully killed an 8-year old kid, killing and maiming others.  Massachusetts wouldn't take him; his own family refused to bury him.  Tsarnaev desecrated that grave the moment he was lowered into it.  As a public official and as a native Virginian who grew up in Caroline County, I am quite passionate about the outrage and anger many of my friends, neighbors, and relatives feel and will make no apologies for it.  Virginia is the Mother of Presidents, not the dumping ground for dead terrorists.”

Kenney added that he was “more than happy to discuss why a handful of Fluvanna Democrats and FOFF members would rather spin up sympathy for Tsarnaev rather than empathize with the horror and outrage shared by everyone from the Islamic Center of Virginia to residents along Rt. 30 in Doswell.  What a disgusting reflection on Fluvanna -- shame on them.”