Bishop, whose stabbing incited riots in Sydney, was a TikTok star with controversial views

Australian police said there was a 'religious motive' behind the 'terrorist act'

AUSTRALIA-CRIME/CHURCH Video grab showing the teen stabbing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a church service at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, Sydney | Reuters

A bishop and a priest were stabbed by a 16-year-old boy during a church service that was being live-streamed in Sydney on Monday. The incident, witnessed by hundreds of worshippers online, triggered a riot in the western suburb of Wakeley.

The incident happened at Christ The Good Shepherd Church. Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was presiding over a service that was being live-streamed when a 16-year-old boy charged at him with a knife. The 39-year-old priest tried to intervene and stop the attack, but both were injured. Police said they were recovering and expected to survive.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb said the suspect's comments pointed to a religious motive for the attack. "We'll allege there's a degree of premeditation on the basis that this person has travelled to that location, which is not near his residential address, he has travelled with a knife and subsequently the bishop and the priest have been stabbed," Webb said. They're lucky to be alive," Webb told AP.

The suspect was restrained by the public at the scene and later handed over to the police. He was taken to the hospital under custody and received surgery for injuries sustained during the attack. "The teenager was known to police but was not on a terror watch list," Webb said.

However, the incident sparked riots as the video of the attack went viral. Hundreds of community members thronged the charge and threw objects at police cars. "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, police equipment, and police vehicles," Webb said. 

Australia Church Stabbings

Following the situation, the paramedics and police were forced to retreat inside the church, where they were holed up for over three hours as crowds rioted outside. "A number of houses have been damaged. They've broken into a number of houses to gain weapons to throw at the police. They've thrown weapons and items at the church itself. There were obviously people who wanted to get access to the young person who caused the injuries to the clergy people," officials told reporters.

Meanwhile, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel is said to be a social media star with a huge following.  The 53-year-old Iraq-born bishop is known to speak on a range of issues and was critical of homosexuality, COVID

vaccinations, Islam and U.S. President Joe Biden's election, according to Reuters.

He had over 100,000 subscribers on TikTok and has been a target for criticism, hate and online trolling.

The report added that some sermons posted online by the Bishop question parts of Islamic theology, although in others he stresses his love for the Muslim community and how he regularly prays for them. In a recent post, he expressed support for Palestinians in Gaza.

Emmanuel has also hit at the secular world, casting doubt on Biden's election, attacking his support for gay rights and urging Trump to stay true to God and resist the influence of Freemasons. He was also in national news last year with comments about gender.


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