Sydney bishop forgives alleged attacker and urges followers not to retaliate | World News

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A bishop who was stabbed during a church service in Australia has said he forgives his alleged attacker.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel said in a video message on Facebook he is “recovering quickly” and urged the community to remain calm and not retaliate.

He was attacked on Monday at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney.

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested over the incident in which at least four people, including another cleric, the Reverend Isaac Royel, were injured, and police are treating as a terror incident.

Pic: AP
A police forensic officer works at a crime scene at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Image:
The bishop was attacked at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney, Australia. Pic: AP

An online video appeared to show Bishop Emmanuel being repeatedly stabbed in the head and upper body during the church service, which was being streamed online.

In the footage, members of the congregation scream and rush to stop the attack.

In his video message posted on Wednesday, Bishop Emmanuel said he is “doing fine”.

He said: “I forgive whoever has done this act… I will always love you and I will always pray for you. And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well in Jesus’s mighty name.

“I have nothing in my heart but love for everyone… so I have forgiven them, I am praying for them.”

Urging his followers to stay calm, he said: “The Lord Jesus never taught us to retaliate… never said to us ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’.”

Bishop Emmanuel has a popular youth following on TikTok and has criticised homosexuality, COVID vaccinations and Islam in his sermons.

A Muslim community leader has said the suspect might have “anger management and behavioural issues” and a “short fuse” but had shown no signs of being radicalised.

Jamal Rifi, who is also a Sydney doctor, said the boy had apologised when his family visited him in hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“He kept apologising to his mum and saying sorry… and he showed remorse for what he did,” he told Sydney Radio 2GB.

He said he spoke with the teenager’s parents, sister and an uncle who all condemned the boy’s actions and the family had moved since the attack for fear of retaliation.

He added the teenager’s mother said her son “had trouble in his life, had anger management issues, a short fuse and for no valid reasons, he just gets angry”.

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Police work at the scene following a stabbing at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley in Sydney.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Police at the scene following the attack. Pic: Reuters

An angry crowd gathered outside the place of worship after the incident and confronted emergency crews, demanding the suspected attacker be handed over to them.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb said a 19-year-old man, who was not a member of the church, has been charged in connection with his role in the riot.

She said: “People just came along to participate in a riot. That is disgraceful and disgusting.”

Around 50 officers were injured and damage caused to 20 police vehicles.

Read original article here.

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