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Stabbed bishop from Sydney calls for calm and forgives perpetrator

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© via REUTERS

The bishop who was stabbed in a Sydney church on Monday forgives his attacker. He said this in an audio message in which he appeals to remain calm.

Mar Mari Emmanual is said to be recovering quickly, the bishop of the Assyrian Orthodox Church “Good Sheperd” in Sydney himself announced via an audio message. He also indicated that he is fine and “there is no reason to be concerned.”

He then forgave the perpetrator who attacked him during the live broadcast of the Mass, in which four people were injured. “I will always pray for you. And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them too in Jesus’ mighty name,” the bishop said of the perpetrator.

Violence

In the same message, he also asked his community to remain calm after the attack. The religiously motivated act of terror caused a riot outside the Good Shepherd Church, where angry supporters of the bishop had gathered.

As graphic videos of the attack spread quickly online Monday evening, they drew hundreds of people to the church. The violent unrest left two police officers injured, 10 police cars destroyed and paramedics fearing for their safety. Police have promised that those involved will be tracked down and charged. The first arrest, a 19-year-old man, was made Wednesday evening.

(Read more below the photo)

Many people gathered outside after the attack. — © AFP

Bishop Emmanuel also used his audio message to call on his followers to cooperate with the police. “I want you to act like Christ. The Lord Jesus never taught us to fight. The Lord Jesus never taught us to take revenge,” he added.

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A 16-year-old perpetrator – who was also injured – was arrested following the incident but has not been charged. Authorities have repeatedly refused to reveal the boy’s suspected faith. Earlier this week, Australian Security Intelligence Organization boss Mike Burgess said authorities were investigating videos allegedly showing the suspect shouting in Arabic and referring to “the Prophet”.

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