Mon. May 20th, 2024

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed during a service

Wakeley church stabbing: The miracle that saved Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel’s life and kept his alleged attacker from killing him: ‘Act of God’

Sydney church stabbing: Boy, 16, arrested after Bishop attacked

Sydney church stabbing – what we know so far

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed during a service at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley, triggering a riot and violence towards police and paramedics

A 16-year-old-boy was arrested on Monday night after allegedly stabbing a bishop and several others at an Assyrian church service in Wakeley in Sydney’s west. The incident triggered a riot among worshippers and violence towards police and paramedics.

As leaders call on various religious communities in Sydney’s west to remain calm, here is what we know so far about what has been declared by authorities as a terrorist incident.

A live stream of the service at Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley showed a person approaching the altar who then appeared to stab toward the head of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel just after 7pm.

Sydney church stabbing: Chris Minns considering tighter knife laws after Wakeley and Bondi stabbings

A priest was also allegedly stabbed in the attack.

In a video reportedly filmed in the wake of the alleged attack, the teenager can be heard saying in Arabic: “If he [the bishop] didn’t get himself involved in my religion, if he hadn’t spoken about my Prophet, I wouldn’t have come here … if he just spoke about his own religion, I wouldn’t have come.”

Emmanuel, who has a popular online presence, has previously criticised Islam and the prophet Muhammad in public sermons.

The congregation then swarmed forward, with a scuffle ensuing between the worshippers and the attacker. Others travelled to the church, with 2,000 reportedly gathering on the suburban street.

Police were called and arrested the 16-year-old, who had one of his fingers severed in the alleged incident. Authorities believe he severed his own finger.

The attacker, bishop and priest all underwent surgery.

  • The NSW premier, Chris Minns, said on Monday the 16-year-old had been found in possession of a flick knife at a train station in November last year, and a magistrate had placed him on a good behaviour bond over the incident earlier this year. Minns also said the boy had been found with a knife at school in 2020.
  • The alleged offender had not previously been on any terror watch list.
  • Police and paramedics came under attack during the riot. Six paramedics became stuck in the church for three and a half hours, while 30 people were injured – about 20 of whom were affected by capsicum spray.
  • The alleged attack was declared a terror incident in the early hours of Tuesday morning, which gives counter-terrorism police extraordinary powers under NSW laws to investigate, as well as conduct searches to prevent any further suspected attacks.
  • Minns gathered leaders of the local Muslim, Assyrian and Melkite communities for an emergency meeting at 10.30pm on Monday, organising for them to put their names to a statement condemning the violence and calling for calm.
  • Leaders of Lakemba mosque in Sydney’s west revealed they had received threats to firebomb the mosque on Monday night.
  • The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has pleaded for unity after the alleged attack.
  • The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) chief, Mike Burgess, said there was evidence the alleged attack was religiously motivated.

  • Authorities have so far declined to state the religion of the alleged offender.

  • The NSW police commissioner, Karen Webb, said the police would allege a degree of premeditation, as the church was not near the alleged offender’s home, and he allegedly travelled there with a knife.

  • The alleged offender had not previously been on any terror watch list.

  • The NSW government will now consider strengthening knife laws, following the incident as well as the attack in Bondi Junction on Saturday in which six people were stabbed to death.

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Wakeley church stabbing: The miracle that saved Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel’s life and kept his alleged attacker from killing him: ‘Act of God’

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel’s life was likely saved from death because his alleged attacker’s flick-knife failed to open properly during the stabbing – and the suspect cut his own finger off in the botched attack.

Close friend Danny Abdallah spoke to the bishop as he recovered in hospital overnight and on Tuesday he revealed further details that had come to light.

Mr Abdallah – who became a public figure when three of his children and his niece were killed by a drunk and drugged driver – called the bishop’s survival an ‘act of God’.

A 16-year-old boy dressed in black was seen calmly walking up to the bishop at his altar at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, west Sydney, about 7.10pm on Monday.

He appeared to strike the bishop a series of blows to the head and neck, repeatedly swinging down in a stabbing motion.

In the video clip, the alleged attacker pauses briefly to look at his hand before resuming the attack – but was unable to properly open the flick knife.

It’s since been confirmed the attacker cut his own finger off with the knife during the attack.

‘He (the alleged knifeman) went for the face and when he was going for the face, it (the knife) didn’t open,’ Mr Abdallah told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

He told Fordham the bishop appeared to be recovering well on Tuesday morning.

‘As far as I know he’s okay,’ Mr Abdallah said of Bishop Emmanuel. ‘He didn’t get hurt that much yesterday. He was in a stable condition.

‘He’s a good man, he’s a spiritual man. He loves his church, he loves his people.’

Father Isaac Royel was also among four people injured in the incident, which has now been declared a terrorist attack.

Mr Abdallah lost three of his children – Sienna, eight, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13 – and his 11-year-old niece, Veronique Sakr, in a tragic west Sydney crash in 2020.

The family are very religious and Mr Abdallah is friends with Bishop Emmanuel.

Mr Abdallah also condemned the mob who attacked police, angry that officers were preventing reprisals.

Hundreds of Bishop Emmanuel’s gathered outside the church and expressed their anger toward the attacker, believing him to be sheltered by officers inside the church.

The protest quickly turned into a violent riot which resulted in 30 people being injured, including police officers.

Footage showed the mob hurled bottles and bricks at a police barrier and yelled ‘an eye for an eye’ and ‘bring him out’.

The church attack has been declared a terrorist incident with religious motivation, with the alleged assailant reportedly invoking ‘my prophet’ in explaining his actions.

Bishop Emmanuel has been a public critic of aspects of Islam.

NSW Premier Chris Minns warned members of the Assyrian Orthodox faith or any other allied groups from taking action against Muslims.

‘There is no such thing in Australia as taking the law into your own hands,’ Mr Minns said.

‘You will be met by the full force of the law if there is any tit-for-tat violence in Sydney over the coming days.’

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said 20 police cars were damaged in the riots.

‘The police officers, of which there were many, acted courageously to protect that community, witnesses, victims and the ambulance officers,’ she said.

‘They went there to do their job last night and they were turned on.’

NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dom Morgan claimed several paramedics were trapped inside the church due to the riot.

‘Paramedics became under threat and … had to retreat into the church,’ he said.

‘The officers that serve this community and police every single day were holed up in that church for three-and-a-half hours.

Six of our paramedics could not leave that facility for fear of their own safety.’

Up to 100 police officers, including riot squad cops, were called to the scene along with POL AIR.

Mr Abdallah said of the riot: ‘I condemn it, it’s not right.

‘They should have left it with the police to look after it, they shouldn’t have done what they did.

‘These are kids that look at him as a spiritual father and they felt like that their father got stabbed and they were probably angry, but they still have no right to do what they did.’

Footage taken immediately after the attack showed the teenage knifeman was pinned down by at least three people, including a police officer.

The teenager appeared to smile and mock his captors as they held him in place.

One man, with blood visible on his jeans, sat with his legs straddling his head.

‘People are praying and you come and do this?,’ he said.

The police officer interjected: ‘Stop, just let go, please. You’re going to make it worse.’

Police have declared the alleged attack was an act of terrorism.

‘Strike Force Petrina has been established to investigate that side of the events last night and a referral has been made and agreed to by the joint counterterrorism investigation team that we will work jointly with NSW police lead, with AFP and other Commonwealth agencies in this investigation,’ Commissioner Webb said. source


Stabbing of bishop at Sydney church a ‘terrorist act,’ police say

Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed and injured during a service at Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney, Australia. Police say the attacker is a teenage boy and are treating the incident as a ‘terrorist act’.

A bishop and a priest were stabbed in an alleged “terrorist act” at a Sydney church that sparked a riot on Monday, police said, just two days after the Australian city was rocked by a mass stabbing in a busy shopping mall.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was presiding over a service that was being livestreamed at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the western suburb of Wakeley, when an alleged attacker was seen charging toward him. Several parishioners immediately attempted to intervene while screams could be heard in the church.

Members of the public restrained the alleged attacker at the scene, according to New South Wales police. Police then arrived and arrested the suspect, later identified as a 16-year-old boy, who was taken to the hospital under custody and received surgery for injuries sustained during the attack. Police initially said he was 15.

“We will allege [the suspect] attended that church armed with a knife and stabbed the bishop and priest … We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism,” she said.

A 53-year-old man received cuts to his head and a 39-year-old man, who was injured after attempting to intervene, suffered cuts and a shoulder wound, police said. Both were treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital.

“They are lucky to be alive,” Webb said.

In a statement, Christ The Good Shepherd Church said Bishop Emmanuel suffered several blows to the head and body. Parish priest Father Isaac Royel was also injured but no one else inside the church was harmed, it said.

Charbel Saliba, Deputy Mayor of Fairfield City, a suburb of western Sydney, told CNN that Emmanuel was well known in the local community.

While the bishop was bleeding, “he put his hand on the man that stabbed him and said something like, ‘May the Lord Jesus Christ Save you,’” Saliba said, citing a witness.

Riot erupts outside church

Video of the attack spread quickly on social media, prompting angry members of the community to converge on the church, police said. Footage showed chaotic scenes as people threw objects at police cars.

Webb, the police commissioner, condemned the “uncontrolled” crowd that gathered soon after officers and first responders arrived on the scene, calling their conduct “totally unacceptable.”

“People converged on that area and began to turn on police. People used what was available to them in the area, including bricks, concrete, palings, to assault police and throw missiles at police, and police equipment, and police vehicles,” Webb said.

NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan said paramedics and police were forced to retreat inside the church, where they were holed up for three and a half hours as crowds rioted outside.

“This was a rapidly evolving situation where the crowds went from 50 to hundreds of people in a very rapid period of time. Our paramedics became directly under threat,” he said.

“Six of our paramedics could not leave that facility for fear of their own safety. I echo the words of the police commissioner. This is outrageous.”

NSW Ambulance treated 30 patients, Morgan said, including seven who were taken to hospital. Around 20 were treated for the effects of pepper spray.

Some 20 police vehicles were damaged with 10 deemed unusable, police said.

In its statement, the Church backed the police response, saying officers took “necessary steps” when onlookers and visitors who had came to express their support for the bishop refused “numerous” requests by police and clergy to leave.

The Church “categorizes this attack as isolated” and “denounces retaliation of any kind,” it added.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said the scenes were “disturbing,” and he convened a meeting late Monday of faith leaders representing different religious communities across western Sydney.

The suspect, who has not been named, had not been on any terror watch list, Police Commissioner Webb said. Police believe he was acting alone but emphasized the investigation is in its preliminary stages.

Webb said police had spoken with the boy’s parents, but she could not provide specific details of that conversation.

The incident comes shortly after six people were killed and several others were injured, including a 9-month-old baby, in a stabbing attack at Westfield Bondi Junction in Sydney on Saturday.

Australian police said Monday that the attacker in Bondi, 40-year-old Joel Cauchi, may have targeted women.

Five women were among those killed in that attack. Twelve others were injured, eight of whom remained in the hospital Monday in conditions ranging from stable to critical. source