No proof yet it a ‘terrorist act’

MUSLIM community leader Dr Jamal Rifi fears that labelling the Fairfield Bishop stabbing “a terrorist act” especially within just hours of the offence, will flame tensions within religious groups.

A 16-year-old boy was charged in a bedside court hearing with terrorism after the alleged stabbing last week of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at a church in Wakeley.
A 39-year-old man also sustained lacerations and a shoulder wound when he attempted to intervene.
Dr Rifi believes it is a double standard to call it that when compared to the Bondi stabbing murders two days earlier, which were put down to the perpetrator being schizophrenic or having mental health issues.
Knowing the parents personally, he said there were no red flags of “radicalisation” in the lead up to the event.
With the father migrating from Lebanon in the 1990s and working as a taxi driver, and the mother in 2004, they had two boys and a girl and made their home in Bankstown.
They have never been in trouble with the police.
“They are very hardworking, humble people and when told of what their son had done, they were in disbelief with the father so shocked, he became incoherent,” Dr Rifi said.
“The boy was not attending school as he was stressed after a playground altercation and the mother said because of that, he had been spending more time on his phone.
“However, they’d had problems with him since Year 7, he’d been to two counsellors and was waiting to see a psychiatrist over anger management issues.
“Doctors thought he may be on the autism spectrum but he was not on any medication and nothing was ever diagnosed but to me, his behaviour is consistent with a mental health disorder.”
Dr Rifi said the day after the crime, the parents visited their son in hospital and he was remorseful and apologetic for his actions.
“The parents have relocated because they fear being attacked,” he said.
“They don’t deserve to be in this situation.”
Soon after the alleged attack, a large crowd gathered outside the church before a riot started with projectiles thrown at officers, injuring a number of them, while police vehicles were damaged and property stolen.