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Bishop ‘recovering’ after Sydney church stabbing incident

A Sydney bishop brutally stabbed during a live-streamed sermon said he is recovering and forgives his attacker.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was stabbed in the head and chest by a 16-year-old suspect on Monday, sparking a riot by followers of the Assyrian Christian church in western Sydney.

“I am doing fine, recovering very quickly,” said the bishop of Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley.

The area is a hub for Sydney’s small Christian Assyrian community, many of whom fled persecution and war in Iraq and Syria.

Mr Emmanuel has an online following of almost 200,000, galvanising many with his criticism of Covid-19 vaccines, homosexuality, lockdowns as well as Islam.

The attack on the bishop who has a popular youth following on TikTok has been deemed terrorist act motivated by suspected religious extremism.

“There is no need to be worried or concerned,” the bishop said in a YouTube video released Tuesday, with audio of his voice accompanied by a photo of him in vestments.

“I forgive whoever has done this act and I say to him: You are my son, I love you and I will always pray for you. And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well.”

The teenage suspect was taken to a Sydney hospital after the attack. Senior police said mid-week his treatment was expected to last for several days.

The bishop called for calm after the stabbing sparked angry scenes outside the church.

Hundreds of congregants and members of the community rushed to the site on the night of the attack.

Some hurled rocks and other projectiles that allegedly wounded police and damaged 50 police cars.

“I want you to always be calm,” the bishop said.

“We need to be always law-abiding citizens as well. We need to cooperate with the police directives whether it be at a state level or a federal level,” he said.

“We should never forget that we are very blessed to be Aussies, but above all we are Christians and we need to act like it.”

Police charged a 19-year-old man yesterday in connection with the violence outside the church and have warned more will be arrested in the coming days.

Mall in Bondi beach to reopen

The attack on the bishop was the second major stabbing attack in just three days in Australia’s most populous city after six people were killed and 12 injured in a knife attack at a beachside mall in the Bondi area on Saturday.

The events have shocked residents in Sydney and across Australia.

Authorities said the mall would reopen today to allow people inside to pay respects to the victims. Businesses are expected to resume trade starting tomorrow.

“We’ve gone from shock to disbelief to now grief, and it’s gonna take quite a time for people to be able to process,” Paula Masselos, mayor of the local council, told ABC television.

A candlelight vigil will be held on Sunday, she said, as flowers and bouquets pile up at a makeshift memorial.

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