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Persecuted congregation experiences knife attack motivated by Islamic extremism

April 16, 2024 by Chandler Peterson in Persecuted Christians in Australia

A senseless attack on a persecuted congregation

A knife-wielding attacker charged Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during an evening service at Christ The Good Shepherd Church. The congregants immediately came to his aid and restrained the attacker. Sadly, the congregation is already familiar with Christian persecution; the neighborhood of the church is a hub for Sydney’s Assyrian Christian community, and many congregants previously fled religious violence and war in Iraq & Syria.

We praise God that none of the injuries are life-threatening—though several people were transported to a hospital for treatment, including a church leader named Isaac.

Police quickly arrested a 16-year-old suspect. Early reports indicate that the attack involves Islamic extremism and a video has surfaced in which the attacker says in Arabic, “If they didn’t insult my prophet, I wouldn’t have come here.” According to New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb, the attack appears to have been premeditated. She added that the bishop and others are lucky to be alive.

Following the unexpected violence, an angry crowd gathered outside the church, adding to the chaos. “The Bishop is loved by them,” an impassioned local resident said of the crowd. “He’s loved by myself as well. He preaches about the Lord and we love the Lord.”

The persecuted congregation responds

Bishop Emmanuel is a popular figure on social media, where his sermons have garnered millions of views. A social media post from the church made calls for peace and requested that the Body of Christ pray for the victims and the perpetrator.

Incredibly, it was reported that Bishop Emmanuel began immediately praying for the young attacker moments after the stabbing occurred. According to Charbel Saliba, the deputy mayor of a nearby suburb, a witness observed the bishop as “he put his hand on the man that stabbed him and said something like, ‘May the Lord Jesus Christ save you.'”

Let’s say a prayer for the persecuted Christians affected by this senseless violence.

Dear Lord, we lift up Bishop Emmanuel and the church members injured in this stabbing. We pray for a speedy recovery and thank You that their injuries were not fatal. We also pray for emotional healing for those present during the traumatic event.

We ask You to forgive the young perpetrator; may he turn away from Islamic violence and turn toward You for redemption and salvation. May he be moved by the loving prayers of Bishop Emmanuel.

Help the church to forgive him, and may they remember the words of Romans 12: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Thank you, Father. Amen.

*Photo caption: An exterior image of Christ The Good Shepherd Church, courtesy of Google Maps.

About the author
Chandler Peterson is a staff writer and editor for Global Christian Relief where she shares stories of Christian persecution. Read the latest Christian persecution stories on our website and learn more at

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