Racist attacker stabs Indian priest in Oz church

Tomy Mathew
Tomy Mathew

Melbourne: In an apparent racist attack, a Catholic priest of Indian origin was stabbed in the neck at a church in Melbourne by a man who called him unqualified to say mass as he was an Indian.

A man armed with a knife approached Tomy Kalathoor Mathew (48) in the church foyer moments before the Italian-language mass at St Matthew's Parish in Fawkner yesterday. It's believed that the offender told the priest that because he was Indian, he must be a Hindu or a Muslim and therefore unqualified to say mass, local media reported. A 72-year-old man from Fawkner was arrested and charged with intentionally and recklessly causing injury. He was bailed to appear in Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court on June 13.

"At this stage, we believe the incident is isolated. There's nothing to suggest he's a danger to anyone else," said Detective Senior Constable Rhiannon Norton. Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne spokesman Shane Healy described the incident as "appalling". Father Tomy Mathew suffered minor upper-body injuries and remains in a stable condition at The Northern Hospital.

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