Bishop and TikTok Star Stabbed During Livestreamed Sermon

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.16 - 2024 10:52 AM CET

Photo: YouTube
Photo: YouTube
Bishop and social media star was stabbed during a church service live stream.

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Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, a prominent social media figure and cleric at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Sydney, was stabbed during a live-streamed church service on Monday.

Known for his controversial sermons and significant following on platforms such as TikTok and YouTube, the bishop was attacked along with other worshippers by a teenager wielding a knife.

The incident was reported by Reuters.

A Controversial Figure

At 53, Bishop Emmanuel has garnered a significant online following, particularly among younger viewers, for his dynamic sermons that often blend biblical teachings with pointed critiques on a range of social and political issues.

His views on homosexuality, COVID vaccinations, Islam, and U.S. politics have made him a polarizing figure, attracting both support and severe criticism.

The bishop's digital presence escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic, making him a social media sensation and a target for online trolling. His commentary has frequently sparked heated debates.

The Incident and Its Aftermath

The attack, which occurred during one of Emmanuel's sermons, was captured on a live stream.

Disturbing footage circulating online shows the attacker being restrained by the congregation while voicing criticisms of Emmanuel's remarks about Islam. The police have labeled the stabbing a terrorist act motivated by suspected religious extremism.

In response to his criticisms of various groups and ideologies, Emmanuel has maintained that his intention is not to disparage but to challenge and articulate his views strongly.

"He's not saying your religion is rubbish, he's just proving them wrong and very well articulated to the point where it gets under their skin ... the only way you can bring him down is through physical violence," explained Manuka, a 20-year-old local resident and follower of Emmanuel on TikTok.

Community Response

The violent reaction to the stabbing has stirred concerns about religious persecution among the local Christian community, which includes many immigrants from conflict-ridden regions such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Lebanon.

The incident has reignited fears and tensions, with community members calling for greater protection and respect for their religious practices.

Outside the church, Mary Anoya, a 17-year-old whose family attends Emmanuel's church, defended the bishop's character and intent: "Ever since he started to become famous his words just got twisted. I grew up knowing who he was, I know what type of person he is and it's all just taken out of context," she said.

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