Partially blinded Sydney bishop returns to church after stabbing


The Assyrian Christian bishop who lost the use of his right eye when he was stabbed in an alleged terrorist attack in Sydney last month returned to the site of the attack on Sunday.

Greeting members of his congregation who gave him a standing ovation, he said he was “absolutely humbled” by the abundance of well wishes and support he has received.

Both he and Father Isaac Royel who was also injured in the attack have been discharged from hospital. Royel returned to the church on Sunday for early morning mass.

Eye of love

Wearing an eyepatch, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanual stood before Christ The Good Shepherd Church and recounted the incident causing his partial blindness.

“I ask the Lord Jesus Christ to accept this eye as a token of love and sacrifice” he said in Arabic.

Emmanual said he offered his eye as a sacrifice and a gesture of love towards Muslims.

“If you do not see, I will be the eye for you” he said.

Forgiveness and humility

Emmanual’s comments referenced Police statements in court documents that record what the 16-year-old alleged terrorist said during the assault.

“He p****d me off, every single video is about my Prophet… If he just spoke about his religion, I wouldn’t have come” the young man said.

The Sydney bishop expressed his forgiveness to the alleged offender.

“I will always pray for you, I will always wish you nothing but the best” Emmanuel said.

“This young man who did this act almost two weeks ago, I say to you my dear, ‘You are my son and you will always be my son’.”

Free speech

Iraqi-born Emmanuel has spoken to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian government about the importance of free speech.

The Australian government is engaged in a legal battle with Elon Musk and social media site X over demands to remove videos of the violent attack from the site.

“Every human being has the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I should not worry for my life to be exposed to threat or to be taken away” he said.

“For us to say that free speech is dangerous, that free speech cannot be possible in a democratic country, I’m yet to fathom this.”

Musk’s lawyers have submitted an affidavit from Emmanuel to the Federal Court as support for their case to keep the video available online.

“For us to say because of this freedom of speech it is causing dramas and dilemmas therefore everything should be censored – where is democracy, where is humanity, where is integrity?” Emmanuel asked on Sunday.


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