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Assyrian Church bishop stabbed in Sydney

Assyrian church Sweden

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church was severely wounded when a man attacked him with a knife during a service on Monday.

At least four people were injured in the stabbing incident in Sydney. According to the police the knife attack on the Assyrian congregation stems from religious extremism and counts as a terrorist attack. They arrested a male teenager and held him at the church for his own safety, as some members of the congregation demanded the attacker to be handed over to them to be punished. Ambulance services had to attend to around 30 people after the fight outside the church, and seven people were taken to hospital. 

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb stated in a press conference: “We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism. After consideration of all the material, I declared that it was a terrorist incident.”

There is video footage of the attacker pinned to the ground, his face darkened, speaking in Arabic “if they didn’t insult my prophet, I wouldn’t have come here”.

Authorities suspect that the perpetrator has premeditated the attack, as he has travelled far from home. Christ the Good Shepherd Church has called this an isolated event whilst waiting for authorities to investigate the incident: “The Church denounces retaliation of any kind.”

This is the second major stabbing occurrence in just three days. Six people were killed and twelve were injured in another knife attack on Saturday the 6th of April.  

Bishop Emmanuel’s live-streamed sermons interest a global audience with hundreds of thousands of online views.  He criticised Islam in one of his videos, which might have stirred religious extremists. 

The Lebanese Muslim Association confirmed that the Lakemba mosque in Sydney’s southwest, one of Australia’s largest, received firebomb threats on Monday night. 

Mike Burgess, director-general of security for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation stated: “It is prudent that we do this to determine there’s no threats or immediate threats to security. At this time, we’re not seeing that.”


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