NSW Police declare Christ The Good Shepherd Church alleged stabbing a ‘terrorist act’

Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Police are treating the alleged stabbing of a Christian bishop and a priest as a terrorist incident, after a series of late night phone calls in the early hours of Tuesday.

In footage caught on a livestream, a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbed prominent bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel while the bishop was delivering a sermon at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley about 7.10pm on Monday.

A priest was also stabbed and two others were injured.

NSW Commissioner Karen Webb made the decision at 1.35am to declare it a terrorist act, a decision validated by the Police Minister Yasmin Catley at 1.45am, who then contacted Premier Chris Minns at 2am.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


Speaking on Tuesday morning, Mr Minns said police were now conducting a “major and serious criminal investigation”.

Police say the boy sustained serious injuries, amid rumours his finger was cut off during the melee. He is in police custody at an undisclosed hospital.

The 16-year-old alleged stabber is in police custody. Twitter
Camera IconThe 16-year-old alleged stabber is in police custody. Twitter Credit: Supplied

Commissioner Webb said the alleged offender was not on any terrorism watch list, and this was the first time he had caught police attention.

She alleged there appeared to be a level of premeditation.

“We will allege he attended that church with the knife, the bishops and priests and others were also injured,” Commissioner Webb said.

“We believe there are elements that are satisfied in terms of religious motivated extremism and of course intimidation of the public.”

declared the incident as a “terrorism act” at 1.35am on Tuesday morning.


Mr Minns also called for the community not to take matters “into their own hands”, after furious mob of about 2000 people swarmed near the church after the alleged stabbing, with riots breaking out and police struggling to maintain order.

It prompted officers to barricade themselves inside the church with the boy for several hours as the violence continued outside.

A number of police officers were injured after being hurt during the unrest.

“Late last night, at 10.30pm, I convened a meeting of faith leaders representing major religious organisations across Western Sydney and their message to their communities was universal – they deplore violence in all forms,” Mr Minns said.

“They call for peace amongst all communities in Sydney, and most importantly, that people remain calm.”

Camera IconNSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said police were investigating the incident as a terrorism act. NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard Credit: News Corp Australia

A joint task force with counter-terrorism police has been established, and Anthony Albanese confirmed a meeting of the National Security Committee would be convened on Tuesday morning.

Asked whether he knew what religion the 16-year-old boy had, the Prime Minister declined to disclose it, saying he wanted to ensure everything was confirmed before it was released.

He said he was confident it should be treated as a terrorism incident.

“Due to a range of issues which I have been briefed on,” he told ABC Radio.

Speaking about the violence that broke out outside the church on Monday night, Mr Albanese said there was “no place” for it in Australia.

“There’s no place for violent extremism. We’re a peace loving nation,” he said.

“This is a time for us to unite as a community and as a country.”

Originally published as NSW Police declare Christ The Good Shepherd Church alleged stabbing a ‘terrorist act’

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails