Stabbed Sydney Assyrian Church Bishop Publicly Forgives His Alleged Attacker, Calls for ‘Christlike’ Response

An Assyrian church bishop who was stabbed during a service at his Sydney church has public
Good Shepherd Church

An Assyrian church bishop who was stabbed during a service at his Sydney church has publicly offered forgiveness to his alleged attacker.

He called for his supporters not to retaliate over the attack but instead behave in a “Christlike” way.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, 53, was preaching at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the west of Australia’s most populous city Monday when his 16-year-old assailant ran from the congregation and attacked, as Breitbart News reported.

Horrified worshipers watched before they ran to the rescue with the bishop now happy to embrace the Christian tenet of belief that forgives those who sin.

The church on Thursday released an audio statement from Emmanuel in which the bishop, speaking from his hospital bed, said he was recovering well and that he was praying for his alleged attacker.

“I forgive whoever has done this act,” he said. “And I say to him, ‘You’re my son. I 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. Whether that person is a Christian or not, it’s totally beside the point.”

He called on his supporters to pray instead of retaliate: “There is no need to be worried or concerned. And a piece of advice to all our beloved faithfuls – I need you to act Christlike.

“The Lord Jesus never taught us to fight, the Lord Jesus never taught us to retaliate, the Lord Jesus never said to us ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.”

A woman carries flowers outside the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney’s western suburb of Wakeley on April 16, 2024. Australian police on April 16 said a brutal knife attack during a live-streamed church service was a religiously motivated “terrorist” act. (DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty)

In a video reportedly filmed in the wake of the incident, the Guardian reports the alleged attacker could be heard saying in Arabic: “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 … if he just spoke about his own religion, I wouldn’t have come.”

The religious leader is now expected to make a full recovery and return to his pastoral duties.

The NSW Police Commissioner, Karen Webb, has not revealed any precise motive for the alleged attack, saying police believed “there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious-motivated extremism”.

The decision to declare it an act of terrorism gives counter-terrorism police extra powers under NSW laws to investigate, as well as conduct searches to prevent any further suspected attacks.

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