Blinded bishop defiantly picks up where he left off — at altar where Islamic terrorist tried to butcher him

The Christian bishop
brutally stabbed in Sydney earlier this month by an Islamic terrorist defiantly returned to church Sunday, sporting an eye patch and picking up where he left off. Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel thanked his well-wishers, forgave his attacker, criticized censorship, and emphasized that discussions of human rights fall flat without an understanding of human purpose, which he underscored is anchored in God.

The
livestream of the Sunday service at Christ the Good Shepherd Church — which the Australian government has not yet attempted to censor as it has the video of Emmanuel’s stabbing on April 15 — the bishop can be seen receiving an enthusiastic welcome upon entering the sanctuary.

The bishop opened with a commemoration of Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a mule, noting, “He came to crush evil, to crush condemnation, to crush Satan, and to crush death for once and for all. He who has Christ has life and life eternal.”

After thanking the various Christian leaders, parishes, and government officials who signaled support for him in the wake of the attack, Bishop Mar Mari,
who was blinded in one eye, noted, “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. I will always pray for you. I will always wish you nothing but the best. I pray that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to enlighten your heart, enlighten your soul, your entire being — to realize there is only one God who art in heaven. … That God is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

The bishop noted further that he forgives his attacker and whoever else was behind the terroristic assassination attempt.

Blaze News
previously reported that seven teens were arrested in Sydney Wednesday in connection to the terror attack. Two of the suspects, ages 16 and 17, were charged with conspiring to engage in a terrorist attack. Another suspect was charged with carrying a knife in public.

The Detroit News
reported that four of the teens allegedly used the encrypted messaging app Signal — run by a company whose board NPR boss Katherine Maher chairs — to plan their attack.

“I wanna die and I wanna kill … I’m just excited. … Is your plan to get caught or die or escape?” a 17-year-old suspect allegedly wrote.

Another teen reportedly responded, “We’re gonna be planning for a while … we prefer to escape, but whatever happens, it’s the qadr [predetermination] of Allah.”

The parents of the teen charged with terrorism for stabbing the bishop suggested he was violent and potentially autistic but not a terrorist, despite his reported affinity for videos of Osama bin Laden online and use of a photo of bin Laden for his WhatsApp profile picture.

Bishop Mar Mari also had some words for the Australian government, which has been
fighting Elon Musk’s X in an effort to erase video evidence of the attack from social media. He stressed that “every human being has the right to their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Every human being.”

The bishop, who
spoke out last week against his country’s global censorship demands, rattled off various belief systems entitled to free speech, concluding with “also the Christians have the right to express their beliefs.”

“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,” said Mar Mari. “I am yet to fathom this. We should be able as civilized human beings — as intellectuals — we should be able to criticize, to speak.”

“Maybe, at some certain times, we may sound or we may come across offensive to somewhat degree. But we should be able to say, ‘I should not worry for my life to be exposed to threat or to be taken away,'” said the bishop. “A non-Christian can criticize my faith, can attack my faith. I will say one thing: ‘May God forgive you and may God bless you.’ This is a civilized way, an intellectual way of approaching such events if or when they take place.”

The clear intimation was that the path chosen by the Islamic teen was the barbaric way of dealing with speech perceived to be offensive.The bishop is no stranger to the well-trodden barbaric way, having originally
come from Iraq where Sunni and Shia Muslim groups have brutally oppressed Christians, driving them in recent years to the brink of extinction. Iraq has been home to Christians since gifted the faith in the first century by Thomas the Apostle and Thaddeus of Edessa.

The bishop further appeared to insinuate a commonality between his attacker and the government, stating, “To say that ‘because of this freedom of speech, it is causing dramas and dilemmas, therefore everything should be censored,’ then where is democracy? Then where is humanity? Where is integrity? … Where are the values which the Western world more so have been fighting for?”

Last week, Bishop Mar Mari expressed concern in an audio statement that bad actors were using his attack “to serve their own political interest to control free speech.”

“I do acknowledge the Australian government’s desire to have the videos removed because of their graphic nature,” said the bishop. “However, noting our God-given right to freedom of speech and freedom of
religion, I’m not opposed to the videos remaining on social media.”

Bishop Mar Mari is not the only victim of the Islamic terror attack who was back in church on Sunday.

Fr. Isaac Royel, a parish priest who rushed to the bishop’s defense and ultimately suffered stab wounds of his own, celebrated Palm Sunday with the bishop and his Orthodox congregation. He can be seen on the bishop’s right in the video of the Sunday sermon.

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