The Attack on Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in Sydney Introduces a New Dimension to Islamic Fundamentalism

Image credits: Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuelle preaching at Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, New South Wale

The attack on Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel Monday in Sydney (Australia) Monday sent a shockwave throughout the world. The Iraqi-born Bishop was stabbed during a sermon broadcasted and recorded via a live stream of the church. The attack soon went viral on social media, introducing yet another dimension to Islamic fundamentalism.

By Mienke de Wilde
The stabber, a 15-year-old second-generation Lebanese, appeared proud in later footage. He stated: “If he (the bishop) didn’t insult my prophet and religion, I wouldn’t have been here.” An eyewitness who helped to catch the stabber said on yet another video that the boy shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before stabbing the victim.

Emmanuel (1970) is the bishop of Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, New South Wales, Australia. In 2011, he was ordained a bishop in the Ancient Church of the East but was suspended in 2014 due to ‘religious differences.’

New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb declared that staging the attack during a live-streamed service was intended to be “intimidating not only to the parishioners in attendance but also for those parishioners who were watching online.”

It is evident that with all these things in mind, one should not be ashamed to think that this was an Islamic-motivated terrorist attack. Even though various mainstream media outlets are censoring themselves by just saying it was “religiously motivated” or “centered around religion.”

Let’s cut the opinion auto-mutilation crap and call it what it is: Islamic terrorism. Sadly, it was from a young boy, but that makes it even worse, not lighter. How the hell is a 15-year-old coming to these acts?

This is a new dimension in Islamic fundamentalism in the West. While before, we were getting used to attacks on people who made cartoons, comedy, films, and books on Islam, now also a Christian is attacked for just practicing his religion.

Of course, if you are a Christian or other believer, you prefer your prophet over other prophets. That’s what freedom of religion is about. That is inherent in the confession of faith and part of preaching religion.

From that perspective, if a bishop like Mar Mari Emmanuel compares different leadership styles and calls Jesus’ leadership superior to Mohammed's because he thinks Jesus leads with love, in contrast, Mohammed leads with strict rules, that is part of his freedom of religion.

Of course, a Christian bishop thinks Jesus is superior. That’s what makes him a Christian.

Until now, it was common practice to call Koran criticism and Islam critique a discriminating infringement of religious freedom. But what if, as it turns out, the Koran inspires some people to discriminate and infringe the religious freedom of others by demanding a safe space for their prophet?

Doesn’t the knife cut both ways?

If people want to keep their religious freedom, they should be glad prophets and spiritual books and ideas can be criticized. That also gives you the space to believe your own beliefs and not believe what others think.

Criticism and skepticism towards other religions itself is religious freedom in a nutshell. Sadly, the young terrorist didn’t see his own hypocrisy. If someone did infringe on another man’s religion, it wasn’t the Bishop who said something about another man’s prophet.

It was the teenager who used violence to shut up a bishop who, of course, preferred his prophet. Only in a secular state, where religious critics are celebrated instead of intimidated, is there sincere religion and genuine religious freedom.


Mienke de Wilde

Mienke de Wilde is a Dutch law student and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghettimonster. She was part of the documentary-film "I, Pastafari" and fought in several courtrooms against discrimination and religious privileges.
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