15-Year-Old Boy Charged in Stabbing of Assyrian Christian Bishop in Sydney

A 15-year-old boy charged with a terrorism-related offense for the stabbing of an Assyrian Christian bishop in Sydney, raising concerns about extremism and youth radicalization in Australia.

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Nitish Verma
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15-Year-Old Boy Charged in Stabbing of Assyrian Christian Bishop in Sydney

15-Year-Old Boy Charged in Stabbing of Assyrian Christian Bishop in Sydney

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with a terrorism-related offense in connection with the April 15 stabbing of Assyrian Christian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during a livestreamed sermon in Sydney, Australia. The Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) Sydney executed 13 search warrants across several suburbs in Sydney, arresting seven teenage boys. Five teenagers, aged 14 to 17, were previously charged and remain before the courts.

The 15-year-old boy was charged with conspiring to engage in any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. He has been refused bail and is set to appear in a children's court. The JCTT Sydney, comprising members from the AFP, NSW Police Force, ASIO, and NSW Crime Commission, is continuing its investigation under Operation Mingary.

Bishop Emmanuel, a social media star with followers around the world, is known for his criticism of homosexuality, COVID-19 vaccinations, Islam, and U.S. President Joe Biden's election. He was injured in the attack at his church in the Sydney suburb of Wakeley. The Assyrian Church, which has its world headquarters in Iraq, is a Christian sect with historical origins in parts of modern Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

Why this matters: The stabbing of Bishop Emmanuel and the subsequent terrorism charges against multiple teenage boys have raised concerns about extremist activity and the radicalization of youth in Australia. The incident has also highlighted tensions within the community and sparked debates about the country's counter-terrorism laws and the potential for bias in law enforcement's handling of cases involving Muslim suspects.

Muslim groups in Australia have criticized the disparity in the police response to the church stabbing and a separate attack at a Bondi Junction shopping center, which was quickly deemed a mental health issue. The groups have called for an inquiry into the processes leading up to the police raids and to address the issue of racial and religious profiling. New South Wales Premier Chris Minns has rejected the need for changes to the terrorism laws, stating that in some instances, terrorist activities are a result of religious-based extremism.

The public is encouraged to come forward with any information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community as the JCTT Sydney continues its investigation into the alleged network of extremist youth connected to the stabbing incident.

Key Takeaways

  • 15-year-old boy charged with terrorism-related offense in Sydney stabbing
  • 7 teenage boys arrested, 5 previously charged in connection with the attack
  • Victim, Assyrian Christian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, known for controversial views
  • Incident raises concerns about extremism and youth radicalization in Australia
  • Muslim groups criticize police response, call for inquiry into racial profiling