Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett was sitting in his patrol car late Thursday night when a man approached, looking like he was going to ask for directions.
Instead, the man, identified as Edward Archer, pulled out a gun that had been stolen from police more than two years ago and opened fire, pumping about a dozen rounds into the driver side window.
By some miracle, Hartnett survived despite taking multiple hits and was able to get out of his car and chase after the fleeing suspect, shooting Archer in the buttocks.
Other officers quickly nabbed the bleeding suspect. Hartnett is expected to recover, though doctors say he will require extensive surgeries to repair his left arm.
According to police, the suspect confessed to the shooting and said he did it in the name of Islam, and that he pledged allegiance repeatedly to ISIS. The suspect reportedly said that he targeted the officer for assassination because police enforce laws that do not comply with Shariah law or the Quran.
Archer’s confession was transcribed and recorded, so there can be no sensible doubt that he was inspired by his Islamic beliefs to engage in the suspected attempted murder of a police officer.
So naturally when the official press conference was held on Friday, the mayor of Philadelphia denied that the incident had anything to do with Islam.
Mayor Jim Kenney said, “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.”
I wonder if we could have polled the room that held police and government officials, as well as the press, how many would agree with that statement.
Despite the suspect’s clarity and openness about his motivation, Kenney doubled down, saying, “It is abhorrent. It is terrible and it does not represent the religion in any way, shape or form or any of its teachings. … 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.”
Where have we heard that kind of denial before?
Just a random criminal who tried to murder an officer, but we don’t know why. …
It’s worth noting that despite Kenney’s attack of PC-ness, the local Philly Muslim community is speaking out.
Muslim activist Bilal Quayyum, spokesperson for the True Islam Campaign, said that local Muslims are angered by Archer’s attack. They are “very upset that he would proclaim a violent act against an individual and in the name of Islam,” Quayyum said. “It’s not what we believe and is a negative.” He added that members of his organization are praying for Hartnett’s recovery.
Notice that Quayyum isn’t denying that Archer was motivated by Islam, but he is rejecting what he did.
I think Quayyum deserves a tentative thumbs up. Whenever there is an Islamic terrorist attack, the question always arises, where are the Muslim voices opposing terrorism?
Well, here’s one. His group’s website is worth a gander.
The thumbs up is only tentative, however, because this is Islam we’re dealing with, and its reputation precedes it. The practice of taqiyya is well-known, and frankly it will take a lot for any Islamic group to gain Americans’ trust.
Still, Archer’s group may be a hopeful sign that members of Muslim communities may yet stand up publicly for a civilized society.
That would certainly be better than the continued denials of the problem by public officials.