During a sermon in Sydney, Australia, a lone attacker stabbed a bishop and three worshippers. The city had to call in riot police to quell the tension following a string of stabbings.

On Monday, just after 7 p.m., Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was preaching at Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley in Sydney’s west when a man wearing a dark hoodie approached the altar and allegedly stabbed him multiple times. 


The horrifying footage of the incident, broadcast live on the church’s page, shows Bishop Emmanuel looking up in astonishment as the attacker suddenly rains down blows on his face and head. Nevertheless, what could be the reason for such a horrifying attack on the bishop? He has a large social media flock, with over 17,000 followers on Facebook.


During the pandemic, the bishop gained notoriety when he slammed Sydney’s COVID lockdown as “mass slavery” and claimed vaccines are futile because living ‘normally’ will boost immunity. The bishop is known to often criticise Islam; could this have been an influence on the attacker? The attacker is of Pakistani origin. It is being reported in local media that people tried lynching the attacker. His fingers have been cut off.


The bishop, who speaks fluent Arabic and has often criticised Islam, may have provoked his Pakistani attacker. Is Islam a religion of peace? Why can’t Islam tolerate dissent? Is Islam an antithesis to democracy and free speech? We leave those loaded questions to you.


In a social media post, the premier of the Australian state of New South Wales, Chris Minns, described the scenes as disturbing. He urged the community to remain calm and stick together. Other religious heads have expressed shock and condolences.


On Saturday, another lone attacker stabbed six people and injured more than a dozen in a Sydney mall. What is triggering these stabbings?
In May 2023, a video posted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) about a campaign targeting the LGBTQ+ community showed the same bishop in a sermon saying that “when a man calls himself a woman, he is neither a man nor a woman, you are not a human, then you are an it. Now, since you are an it, I will not address you as a human anymore because it is not my choosing, it’s your choosing.” 


Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel has some controversial opinions. He is the leader of an ultra-conservative movement opposing LGBTQ people and liberal policies. However, regardless of one’s creed, gender, or race, we condemn all kinds of violent attacks against innocent people. A worldwide free from arbitrary, religious, or sexual preference imposition is non-negotiable. We cannot let Islamists and other religious fundamentalists dictate our lives. Religion is for the individual. Religion forced is religion disbelieved. 


By Ikechukwu ORJI

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