At a press conference, Jacob Blake Sr, the father of the man shot while being arrested in Kenosha, Wisconsin last week, held a press conference on Tuesday, reading a section of the Koran known as the Surah Al-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quran.
“My family is very diverse, and we don’t represent just one thing,” Blake Sr. said just before reading the Koran in Arabic.
The section he read is referred to as Al-Fātiḥah. It is the first chapter (sūrah) of the Koran. It is translated as follows:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, noted that the Al-Fātiḥah is commonly recited, sometimes as a prayer for healing.
“It is the opening of the Koran and it is only seven verses,” Dr.Kedar said. “It is said at any important event. In this case, it was clearly meant as a prayer for his son’s health, implying that he and his son are Muslims.”
Dr. Kedar went on to add that according to Islamic belief, the last line is understood to be referring to Jews as those who have earned Allah’s anger and Christians are those who went astray.
“I do not think the father chose that verse specifically to insult Jews and Christians,” Dr. Kedar said. “But it is undeniable that the entire Koran is anti-Christian and Judaism. It is replacement theology for every religion that came before it.”
Though the shooting and ensuing riots in Kenosha seemed to be spontaneous, Dr. Kedar noted that there is a close relationship between the Black Lives Matters movement and The Council on American–Islamic Relations.
“All of these supposedly disenfranchised intersectional groups align with Islamic movements, even if Islam objects to them, like in the case of the gay movement or movements that decry the enslavement of blacks,” Dr. Kedar said. He noting that Linda Sarsour who came to prominence campaigning for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and as a head of the women’s movement is also very active in BLM. Sarsour is an advocate of the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement and stepped down from the Women’s March organization in September 2019 following a controversy over the organization’s handling of accusations of anti-Semitism. In a 2017 speech before the Islamic Society of North America, Sarsour said that people should “stand up” to Trump, as she deemed his administration oppressive, and that such actions would constitute a jihad.
In his speech, Jacob Blake Sr. went on to accuse the police of “attempted murder.”
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out in support of my son with this senseless attempted murder that was committed on him,” Blake Sr. said after reciting the Koran. “They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn’t matter. But my son matters. He is a human being and he matters.”
Blake Sr.’s statement was inaccurate in several points. The police shooting of Jacob Blake one week ago in Kenosha, Wisconsin sparked violent riots resulting in millions of dollars of damages and two deaths. On Sunday, August 23, Kenosha police responded to a 911 call about a “domestic incident”, around 5 PM. Officers were informed by the dispatcher that Blake had a warrant for his arrest based on charges of third-degree sexual assault trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse. Officers attempted to subdue Blake, and two officers used tasers on him and the officers were recorded yelling for Blak to “drop the knife.” Blake fought with the officers, putting one in a headlock while ignoring orders to drop the knife, forcing the officers to draw their weapons. After an initial scuffle, Blake walked to the driver’s side of his vehicle, followed by an officer. Blake opened the car and attempted to retrieve a knife that was on the floor in the driver’s side. The police officer grabbed him and fired seven shots towards Blake’s back, hitting him with four bullets. Blake was paralyzed from the waist down and that doctors do not yet know if it would be permanent. Violent mass riots followed almost immediately, leading the Kenosha County government to declare a state of emergency overnight.