April 15, 2024

AUSTRALIA: Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel Was Stabbed By 16yo Male During A Facebook LIVE Streaming Service In Sydney On 4/15. The Attacker Was Apparently Already Known By Local Police.

7NEWS Australia published April 15, 2024: Sydney church stabbing: Multiple people injured during service.

A church leader and a number of parishioners have been stabbed during a live-streamed service in western Sydney. Four people, including a church leader, have been stabbed in an attack caught on a sermon live-stream. About 8pm Monday, police and ambulance crews were called to Wakeley’s Christ The Good Shepherd Church on Box Rd. Paramedics treated four patients: two men — one aged in his 50s and the other in his 30s — with multiple lacerations, a man in his 20s with a laceration on his hand and a man in his 60s with a laceration on his arm. Their injuries are not considered life threatening.

9News, Australia local
written by Freya Noble and Kieran Campbell
Tuesday April 16, 2024

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after allegedly stabbing a bishop and a father at an Orthodox Christian church in Sydney's west.

The attack at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley sparked such tremendous outrage that by the time police arrived they were forced to bunker inside the building to protect the arrested teenager.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was giving a sermon, which was being livestreamed on the internet, when the 15-year-old approached and allegedly stabbed him multiple times just after 7pm on Monday.

Father Isaac Royel was also stabbed, police said. Both Emmanuel and Royel were taken to hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.

Parishioners launched on the teenager, doing "a fantastic job" to tackle and apprehend him until police arrived, Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Holland said in a press conference close to midnight.

However, Holland said an emotional crowd quickly built outside.

NSW Premier Chris Minns chaired an urgent crisis control meeting with leaders from multiple faiths, all agreeing to a call for calm.

Upwards of 100 police and more than 30 police vehicles swarmed the area, including specialist officers and the police helicopter.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia released a statement condemning the attack and said they were praying for Emmanuel's recovery.

"The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia unequivocally condemns tonight's attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in the strongest possible terms," IH Kauser, the national president and Grand Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia, said.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to all those injured in the attack and wish them a speedy and complete recovery."

The Christ The Good Shepherd Church released a statement just before 11pm saying Emmanuel and Royel were in a stable condition and asking people to leave the area.

"Dear brothers and sisters, our beloved Bishop, His Grace Mar Mari Emmanuel, and Father Isaac have been admitted to hospital. They are in a stable condition," the church said.

"We ask for your prayers at this time. It is the bishop's and father's wishes that you also pray for the perpetrator.

"We also kindly ask anyone at the church premises to leave in peace, as our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ teaches us."

Emmanuel is popular but divisive among the Orthodox community, and many of his sermons are shared online.

He attracted attention during the coronavirus lockdown in June 2021 when he criticised the restrictions and vaccine mandates.

There was no indication what sparked Monday's attack. 
ABC News (Australia) pubilshed April 16, 2024: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declares the Wakeley church stabbing a 'terrorist attack' and announces a joint taskforce to investigate the incident.

written by Angie Raphael, Madeleine Achenza and Ellen Ransley
Tuesday April 16, 2024

WARNING: Graphic content

The director general of Australia’s intelligence agency said it was sadly predicted that any terrorist attack was “most likely” to be an individual who acted with little or no warning.

Speaking after the alleged stabbing of a high-profile bishop and priest at a southwest Sydney church on Monday night was declared a “terrorist act”, Mike Burgess – the director-general of ASIO – said when his agency lowered the terrorism threat level to “possible” in November 2022, that had come with a warning.

“I said at the time possible does not mean negligible, and the most likely attack is an individual that goes to violence with little or no warning with a knife, car or gun,” Mr Burgess said.

“And sadly we’ve seen that in this case.”

He confirmed the terrorist incident appeared to be “religiously motivated”.

He said the terrorism threat level would remain at “possible”, but was constantly under review.

Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw declined to comment on what religion the 16-year-old alleged perpetrator prescribed to.

“At this stage, there’s no indication of anyone else involved, but that remains an open investigation,” he said.

Neither senior official would be drawn on whether the boy had been radicalised online or if there had been red flags, saying the joint counter-terrorism team were investigating all lines of questioning.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described the incident as “disturbing”, and said there was “no place for violence in our community (or) violent extremism”.

Video of attacker being probed

Officials confirmed they were investigating a video shared via private WhatsApp groups that purports to show the alleged attacker being held on the ground inside the church, surrounded by people.

It’s been reported he was speaking in Arabic, which has been roughly translated:

“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,” it’s been reported he said.

“If he just spoke about his own religion, I wouldn’t have come.” The Bishop has previously criticised Islam and the Prophet Mohammed in public sermons.

Asked about the video on Tuesday morning, Mr Burgess said investigators were aware of the comments and it was an “open line of inquiry”.

Bishop’s shock act after alleged stabbing

Witnesses have said the bishop who was allegedly stabbed during a church service in Sydney’s southwest was praying for the alleged offender in the moments after.

Video, posted on social media, showed Christian leader Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel allegedly being attacked at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley while delivering his sermon about 7.10pm on Monday.

After the attack, in the suburb close to Cabramatta, a furious mob of about 2000 people swarmed near the church with riots breaking out and police struggling to maintain order.

Police said the boy had serious hand injuries amid rumours his finger was cut off during the melee. Officers had to barricade themselves inside the church with the boy for several hours as the violence continued outside.

A number of police officers were injured after being hurt during the unrest.

Police have said none of the injuries sustained by any of the victims were life-threatening.

Crowds also formed at Liverpool Hospital after at least some of those injured at the church were taken there for treatment. The hospital’s emergency department was closed to people who did not require treatment for a period of time as a “precautionary measure”.

“Terrorism act” declared by police

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb declared the incident a “terrorism act” at 1.35am on Tuesday.

“This is a major and serious criminal investigation. It is crucial that police are able to devote their resources and intelligence as well as officers to the investigation of this crime,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said during a press conference.

The alleged offender is not on any terrorism watch list and this is the first time he has come to the attention of police.

“We will allege he attended that church with the knife, the bishops and priests and others were also injured,” Ms Webb said.

“We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism and of course intimidation of the public.”

Bishop’s amazing act after stabbing

A local councillor has confirmed reports that Bishop Emmanuel was praying for the teenage boy just moments after he allegedly stabbed him in the middle of a church service.

“That’s exactly true, that’s the reports that I’m hearing,” Cumberland City councillor Steve Christou saidon Sunrise.

“It just shows the remarkable courage of a man and the forgiveness he has within him to pray for his alleged attacker.”

“Time to unite”: Albanese

Mr Albanese, who described Monday night’s events as “very distressing”, pleaded for the community to “remain calm” and let police do their job.

“We understand the distress and concerns that are there in the community, particularly after the tragic event at Bondi Junction on Saturday,” he said.

“But it’s not acceptable to impede and injure police during their duty, or to damage police vehicles in a way that we saw last night.

“People should not take the law into their own hands, but we should allow our police, and our security agencies, to do their job.”

He said there was no place for violence in the community.

“There is no place for violent extremism in our community. We are a peace-loving nation. This is a time to unite,” he said.

Priest identified as second stabbing victim

Father Isaac Royel has been identified as the second stabbing victim.

In a post shared to the church’s Instagram page on Monday night, a spokesperson confirmed Father Royel was admitted to hospital and was in a stable condition.

The 39-year-old was injured after attempting to intervene to stop the alleged stabber, suffering lacerations and a shoulder wound, police will allege.

“We ask for your prayers at this time,” a post shared to the Church’s Instagram just before midnight on Monday.

“It is the bishop and father’s wishes that you also pray for the perpetrator.

“We also kindly ask anyone at the church premises to leave in peace, as our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, teaches us.”

Teen recovers from surgery

In an update shared on Tuesday morning, police said the alleged offender was recovering in hospital after he underwent surgery for injuries sustained in the alleged attack.

The 16-year-old was removed from the church and taken to hospital where he remains under police guard.

MP cautions against jumping to conclusions

Dai Le, whose electorate of Fowler takes in Wakeley, paid tribute to the bishop, describing him as a “wonderful human being”.

“He’s authentic, he’s genuine,” she told Sunrise from outside the crime scene on Tuesday morning.

“He’s a very much loved figure within the community.”

She praised police for responding to the alleged stabbing so quickly, but described the scenes outside the church on Tuesday night as “chaotic”.

“It was too chaotic, and I think it was too emotional last night for the people who heard about what happened to the Bishop,” she said.

She cautioned against jumping to conclusions about why the alleged stabbing had occurred.

“I would say to people, remain really calm and not be emotional about all of this. I know that the bishop would do the same thing,” she said.

“I live in a very multi-faith and multicultural community. I would caution people against making any kind of assertion about this whole thing. Let’s leave it for the police to do that job.”

Premier calls meeting of faith leaders

Mr Minns met with faith leaders from six churches across Western Sydney just three hours after the attack unfolded on Monday night.

“All of the community leaders endorsed and supported a unanimous condemnation of violence in any form, called for the community to follow first responder and police instructions and called for calm in the community,” he said in a statement.

“We’re calling on everyone to act with kindness and respect for each other. Now is the time to show that we are strong and united as a NSW community.”

Local mayor: People “rushed to protect” family

Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone said he condemned the actions of community members who rioted against police but explained hundreds of people “rushed towards the church to protects their loved ones”.

Two police officers were injured and a number of police vehicles sustained damage during the unrest that followed the alleged stabbing.

A constable was hit with a metal object and sustained a twisted knee and a chipped tooth. Another constable sustained a broken jaw after he was hit with a brick and a fence paling.

“So many people rushed there to protect their family and their friends … and I think that created a bit of a tinderbox and a lot of emotions,” Mr Carbone told 2GB radio on Tuesday.

“We definitely condemn the actions against the police and we hope that all the police personnel that got injured are doing much better this morning.”

“Forgiven his attacker”: Abdallah family

Leila Abdallah – who attends the Christ The Good Shepherd Church with her family – said she was confident Bishop Emmanuel had “forgiven his attacker”.

“Echoing the message of forgiveness that defines our beliefs,” she wrote in a post to Instagram about 10pm, alongside a carousel of photos featuring her children with the bishop.

“Our heart goes out to him,” she said.

“Let us come together in prayer for Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.”

Mrs Abdallah lost three of her children and a niece when a drunk driver struck them while walking to get ice cream in Sydney’s west in 2020.

She shocked the nation when she told reporters she forgave the driver less than 24 hours after the incident.

Alleged attack

Shocking footage of the alleged attack showed the bishop speaking when a younger person dressed in black calmly walked up to him.

The bishop looked at the alleged attacker, who then made a stabbing motion to the face and neck area.

The bishop then fell to the ground.

Screams were heard from the crowd, as several people rushed forward to try to help.

The footage was taken from a livestream from the church’s YouTube page.

Rumours boy’s finger cut off

NSW Police gave an update in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday where they confirmed that the alleged attacker was known to police and was not a regular attendee of the church.

Addressing media, Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Holland said the boy had been apprehended by worshippers but police had taken him to an “undisclosed location”.

He had asked to speak with his parents.

Mr Holland was also asked about rumours that the boy had his finger cut off after the attack in an act of revenge.

In confronting footage, the alleged attacker appears to be held down by multiple people.

One man, with blood on his jeans, straddles the alleged attacker’s head with his legs.

The video also showed the boy apparently smiling at the camera.

“Reports are that he has injuries to his hands – I don’t know the extent of those injuries at this point,” Mr Holland said.

“His injuries are quite severe in his hand, he’s fairly upset and fairly distraught.”

Riots erupted following the alleged stabbing with one video posted to social media showing a large crowd at the scene, with property damaged.

Other footage showed dozens of people bashing ambulance windows as onlookers film some conflict in the background.

“He’s a f**king dog,” one man can be heard saying.

Police said officers were continuing to “work on restoring order” following the riots and will continue to monitor places of worship throughout the night.

Chaos erupts

During the Covid pandemic, Bishop Emmanuel gained notoriety for comments where he criticised both lockdowns and vaccines and said coronavirus was “just another type of flu”.

Mr Carbone said the alleged attack was “horrific” and he understood people were “distraught”, but he also called for calm.

“I understand that many people are upset, and justifiably so,” he told Sky News.

“Obviously it’s terrible.

“I feel for everybody that witnessed that (stabbing) but I do call for calm.

“The police will do their job and please let’s not make the police’s job any harder.”

Mr Minns described the scene as “disturbing”.

“I have received a briefing from the Commissioner of Police and NSW Health on the situation,” he said in a statement.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and first responders who are working to keep us safe.

“It’s important that the community remain calm and continue to listen and act to the directions of police and emergency services.

“We are a strong community in NSW and it’s important that we all stick together, particularly in the face of adversity.”

A NSW Ambulance spokesman told NCA NewsWire a man aged in his fifties was taken to Liverpool Hospital with multiple stab wounds.

Three other people were also injured — a man aged in his thirties suffered multiple lacerations, a man in his twenties received a cut to his hand, and a man in his sixties wounded his arm.

“Officers attached to Fairfield City Police Area Command, supported by multiple police resources from a number of commands and specialist units, attended,” police said in a statement.

“A male was arrested and remains in police custody.

“The injured individuals suffered non-life threatening injuries and were treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being conveyed to hospital.”

The attack on the bishop comes just three days after six people were killed during a stabbing massacre at Sydney’s Bondi Junction Westfield shopping centre.

There is nothing to suggest the two events are linked.

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