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January 11, 2016

Kenney, Rubio spar over Islam's involvement in shooting of Philly policeman

GOP candidate says 'ridiculous' for Philly mayor not to acknowledge radical Islam

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has downplayed religion's involvement in the execution attempt of a Philadelphia police officer Friday, a stance that has drawn criticism since police say the man who shot the cop three times admitted doing so "in the name of Islam."

Add Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio to his list of detractors. The Florida senator said at a town hall in South Carolina on Saturday that the shooting was a terrorist attack, according to CNN.

He referenced Police Commissioner Richard Ross stating after the attack that 30-year-old Edward Archer confessed to shooting 33-year-old officer Jesse Hartnett in the name of Islam.

Then, he denounced Kenney's comments that the shooting was "terrible" but in "no way" had anything to do with Islam, adding that the incident "does not represent the religion in any way, shape or form or any of its teachings." Here's what Rubio said, via CNN (h/t Philly Mag):

And then, (Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney) gets up and says, 'This has nothing to do with Islam and radical Islam,'" said Rubio, who frequently hits Democrats for what he says is their refusal to properly label terrorism.
"This is ridiculous. This is absurd," Rubio added. "This is a radical person, living in [the] United States, who became radicalized. This is the new face of the war on terror, and it is dangerous and we need to confront it and defeat it. I will not stop until we do."

Kenney brushed off Rubio. In a statement, he doubled-down on his comments, and accused Rubio of trying to score "political points." Here's Kenney's response:

“I stand by what I said: This criminal is not representative of Islam. Period. I think candidates for office, particularly for President, should not demonize an entire group of Americans because of the actions of a violent criminal with a deranged view of what the Quran teaches – and I also think it’s particularly irresponsible to try [to] score political points off the attempted assassination of a Philadelphia Police Officer. Show some class and dignity when you are running for the highest office in the land."

Rubio wasn't the only one to take aim at Kenney for asking people not to link Islam with the shooting. A host of conservative commentators criticized him for it, such as radio host Rush Limbaugh, who called him a "full-fledged wacko leftist," adding that the shooting "most certainly does" have something to do with Islam.

Investigators are still working to conclude if Archer had any definitive links with the Islamic State, and have looked into recent trips he took to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Philadelphia police are also on alert because of a tip they received that warned of a new threat and claimed Archer was affiliated with a group that held radical beliefs.