In the later hours of Monday, April 15, Christ the Good Shepherd Church members gathered to listen to one of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel’s sermons. At 7:00 pm, a young man in a black jumper entered the church and attacked churchgoers, starting with the bishop. The attack left seven people injured and five people with none life-threatening.

The attack happened during one of Bishop Emmanuel’s livestream programs. The police have revealed the attacker as 16 years old, but his name wasn’t made public. The attacker got into the church, wielding a switchblade (a weapon banned in Australia) and shouting “Allahu Akbar” before stabbing Bishop Emmanuel multiple times. The deputy mayor of Fairfield, Charbel Saliba, said he witnessed the bishop laying his hands on the attacker after he was stabbed, saying, “May the Lord Jesus Christ save you.”.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was the first to be attacked

After the attack, a crowd of almost 500 people gathered in front of the church in protest. The crowd were demanding the attacker be brought outside. Police successfully dispersed the crowd and The attacker was arrested. The nature of the attack has been classified as an act of terrorism. The police said the attacker had already been arrested on weapon offenses but was not on terrorism watch.

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The police also said some elements pointed to religious extremism. Bishop Emmanuel is known to be a critic of other religions, like Islam and Judaism. The attacker seems to have taken offense to some of his comments. In a video made by one of the churchgoers, the attacker could be heard saying, “If he didn’t insult my prophet, I wouldn’t have come here.”

In addition, the prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, condemned the attack. He said “there’s no place for violence in our community” and “violent extremism.”


Content Credit/ Ajibola Emmanuel Adebayo

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