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Sydney teen accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

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Sydney teen accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says
News

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Sydney teen accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

2024-04-18 19:12 Last Updated At:19:20

SYDNEY (AP) — A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing two Christian clerics during a Sydney church service might have “anger management and behavioral issues” and a “short fuse” but had shown no signs of being radicalized, a community leader said Thursday, after authorities declared the stabbing a terrorist attack.

The teen spoke in Arabic about the Prophet Muhammad being insulted after he stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and the Rev. Isaac Royel during Monday night's Assyrian Orthodox service, which was being streamed online.

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Black ribbons are displayed on the doors to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

SYDNEY (AP) — A 16-year-old boy accused of stabbing two Christian clerics during a Sydney church service might have “anger management and behavioral issues” and a “short fuse” but had shown no signs of being radicalized, a community leader said Thursday, after authorities declared the stabbing a terrorist attack.

People walk past the entrance to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People walk past the entrance to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People stand outside a house across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People stand outside a house across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A man places flowers outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A man places flowers outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Father Daniel Kochou, right, gestures as he speaks with people, across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Father Daniel Kochou, right, gestures as he speaks with people, across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Police patrol outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Police patrol outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

The bishop released an audio statement on Thursday saying that he was “doing fine, recovering very quickly” and that he forgave his attacker.

Jamal Rifi, a Sydney doctor and Muslim community leader, said the boy had apologized when his family visited him at a hospital on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“He kept apologizing to his mum and saying sorry and all that sort of thing, and he showed remorse for what he did,” Rifi told Sydney Radio 2GB. Rifi said he spoke on Wednesday with the teenager's parents, sister and an uncle who all condemned the boy's actions. The family had relocated from their home since the attack to avoid retaliation.

The teen's mother told Rifi that “he always listened to music, he played the drums, he actually danced to the music. A radical person ... would not do that." Rifi added that the family didn't see any signs of radicalization.

“She said that he had trouble in his life, had anger management issues, a short fuse and for no valid reasons, he just gets angry,” he added.

The teen had seen three psychologists, a school counselor and had an appointment to see a psychiatrist. The mother was told her son might have a “an autism spectrum disorder or anger management and behavioral issues, but there is no clear diagnosis,” Rifi said.

According to media reports, the boy had been convicted in January of a range of offenses, including possession of a switchblade knife, being armed with a weapon with an intention to commit an indictable offense, stalking, intimidation and damaging property. He was released from court on a good behavior bond, but had been expelled from school for bringing a knife to class.

The teen sustained severe hand injuries when parishioners in Christ the Good Shepherd Church overpowered him. He is likely to remain in an undisclosed hospital under police guard for several days. He has yet to be charged.

Police say while the attack could be classified as a terrorist act under New South Wales law, that did not mean the boy would be charged with terrorism offenses.

A crowd of up to 600 people converged on the church after the attack, some demanding that police hand over the boy. Hours of rioting led to 51 police officers being injured. Sydney mosques also received firebomb threats.

The bishop used his statement to call for calm after the attack, which was Australia's second high-profile knife attack in a week, after a man stabbed six people to death at a busy Sydney shopping center on Saturday before he was fatally shot

“The Lord Jesus never said go out and fight in the street, never said to retaliate, but to pray. And this is what I’m asking everyone to do,” Emmanuel said.

“I forgive whoever has done this act. And I say to him, you are my son, I love you and I will always pray for you. And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well,” the bishop said.

Royel, the injured priest, left a hospital on Wednesday and was interviewed by detectives at his home on Thursday, media reported.(backslash)

Rod McGuirk contributed to this report from Melbourne.

Black ribbons are displayed on the doors to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Black ribbons are displayed on the doors to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People walk past the entrance to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People walk past the entrance to the Westfield mall at Bondi Junction in Sydney, Thursday, April 18, 2024. The Sydney shopping mall has been opened to the public for the first time since it became the scene of a mass stabbing in which six people died, while the Australian prime minister has flagged giving citizenship to an immigrant security guard who was injured while confronting the knife-wielding attacker. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People stand outside a house across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

People stand outside a house across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A man places flowers outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A man places flowers outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Father Daniel Kochou, right, gestures as he speaks with people, across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Father Daniel Kochou, right, gestures as he speaks with people, across the road from the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Police patrol outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Police patrol outside the Christ the Good Shepherd church in suburban Wakely in western Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Australian police say a knife attack in Sydney that wounded a bishop and a priest during a church service as horrified worshippers watched online and in person, and sparked a riot was an act of terrorism.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

Sydney boy accused of stabbing 2 clerics showed no signs of radicalization, Muslim leader says

NEW YORK (AP) — The first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs have been the most-watched in the U.S.

Going into the conference finals, the playoffs are averaging 1.16 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS and truTV. That is a 9% increase over last year.

The conference semifinals, where all four series went at least six games, averaged 1.55 million, a 12% jump.

The Florida Panthers' 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 6 on May 17, averaged 2.2 million on TNT, truTV and Max. The first game of the Carolina Hurricanes-New York Rangers series on May 5 averaged 2 million on ESPN.

The first round of the playoffs averaged 934,000 viewers, the second-most watched first round for the NHL in the U.S.

AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

Stanley Cup playoffs averaging record 1.16 million viewers in the U.S. through first 2 rounds

Stanley Cup playoffs averaging record 1.16 million viewers in the U.S. through first 2 rounds

Stanley Cup playoffs averaging record 1.16 million viewers in the U.S. through first 2 rounds

Stanley Cup playoffs averaging record 1.16 million viewers in the U.S. through first 2 rounds

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Bruins' Jeremy Swayman (1) and Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrovsky (72) talk after the Panthers defeated the Bruins in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Friday, May 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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