The Muslim man who said Islam motivated him to shoot a police officer does not represent the teachings of Islam, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated in a press conference on Friday afternoon, following an attempted execution by a man who had reportedly pledged to the Islamic State.
A 33-year-old Philadelphia policeman, Jesse Hartnett, was ambushed late Thursday when Edward Archer, a Muslim man, reportedly tried to execute him while he was sitting in his police vehicle. Images from the incident show a man dressed in Muslim attire firing off a reported 13 rounds at officer Hartnett. The police officer was hit three times, but did not suffer life threatening injuries and is expected to recover fully, reports said.
According to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, the suspect said he had committed the attempted execution in the name of the Islamic State, the jihadi terrorist insurgent group that controls territory in the Middle East.
“According to him [the shooter], police bend laws that are contrary to the teachings of the Quran,” said Commissioner Ross.
Mayor Kenney, who was inaugurated last week, took a strikingly different tone when coming to the podium.
He began by expressing his well-wishes for the officer who the Muslim man attempted to execute, but then spent the latter part of his statement distancing Islam from the shooter, who claimed he was carrying out the shooting for Islam.
“In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen,” said Mayor Kenney.
“That is abhorrent. It’s just terrible and it does not represent this religion [Islam] in any way shape or form or any of its teachings,” he added. “This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
He also took to Twitter, expressing a similar statement:
Last night’s shooting had nothing to do with any faith. It was a violent assault by a criminal. I urge all Philadelphians to stand together.
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) January 8, 2016
Kenney, a Catholic, received his bachelor’s degree from La Salle University, and it remains unclear where his religious expertise concerning Islam derives from.
While running for office, Kenney consistently reached out to the Muslim community for support.
In July, he signed a “pledge to combat bigotry” at the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society. The pledge was created by the Arab American Institute, an anti-Israel organization that seeks to promote Arab politicians for higher office. In signing the pledge, Kenney, agreed to combat criticism of Islam, and to “speak out” against ‘Islamophobia.’