Wakeley: Muslim leader says mother of 16yo terror accused didn’t see red flags as boy’s behaviour revealed

The Nightly
VideoThe bishop is forgiving all involved in the horror stabbing.

The mother of a 16-year-old boy who is facing a terror charge says her son had been locking himself in his room and browsing the internet for extended periods before he allegedly stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel inside a Sydney church.

Muslim community leader Dr Jamal Rifi told media that the mother of the teen boy at the centre of a terrorist investigation did not see any red flags but that he had suffered from anger management issues before the shocking incident unfolded on April 15 around 7pm local time.

Police allege the boy was in the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, in Sydney’s west when he approached Assyrian Bishop Emmanuel Mar Mari and repeatedly stabbed him with a knife.

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The incident sparked large riots in the area, which left several damaged police vehicles and officers injured.

Following an investigation from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team, the boy was charged with committing a terrorist act.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.

Dr Rifi told The Daily Telegraph the boy’s shocked mother was hopeful investigators would determine the cause of the alleged attack.

“What his mother has told me is that he was surfing the internet a lot, and she wonders if someone used his mental vulnerability to put some ideas in his head,” Dr Rifi said.

The boy is one of three siblings, and he struggled with “bursts of anger” since year seven in High school.

It is reported the boy had been expelled from a school in Western Sydney six months ago and that a psychiatrist appointment was forced to be cancelled after a doctor went overseas.

“His mother had been trying to get him as much help and support as she could...this really is a terrible, tragic incident,” Dr Rifi said.

He said the boy’s father, who works as a taxi driver, was in a “state of shock”.

“He was in disbelief, incoherent...he drove in his car for about four hours to collect his thoughts,” Dr Rifi said.

The boy’s family has not returned to their home of fears of a reprisal attack from members of the community.

The alleged attack left Bishop Emmanuel with significant injuries to his head. A 39-year-old man also sustained lacerations and a shoulder wound when he attempted to intervene.

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